Ply-split braiding


Monday 16th February

Learning new things is supposed to keep you young and if last Monday's workshop was anything to go by we had all turned back the clocks by a few years.  Gail Marsh taught us the intricate art of ply-splitting, an ancient craft originating from the desert regions of North West India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it was used to make thick braid for camel girths, belts and luggage strapping. 

Manipulating four different coloured cords, remembering to twist each one by a quarter turn whilst trying to insert a rug-hooking tool through the correct number of cords vexed us all to begin with. Slowly we realised that a pattern was forming and soon were flying. 

Firstly we created a key fob with diagonal stripes. Easy we thought, until, in an absent-minded moment, the braid was turned over and we realised that we had formed an elbow.  Luckily the next pattern was to create waves which did require turning and was worked from alternate sides.

Gail is a generous teacher and in addition to her unfailing patience with our ham-fisted braids, she had prepared individual kits for each of us, representing many hours of cord making in a variety of beautiful colours.  We finished the day with two pieces and a whole lot of inspiration for vessels, bags, and jewellery.

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