Our Desert secrets - Fabulous vessels in Ply-splitting

All of us Indians have heard, seen and read a lot about crafts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab.  But ply-splitting?  Heard of it?  Well, the word and the craft associated with it did not ring any bell in my head.  So it was a joy discovering that the famed artisan Barbara J. Walker has woven wonders with this technique using the inspirational ideas of the Thar desert of India-Pakistan.

I came across her reference by sheer chance when I wanted to look further into a fascinating picture on Slip-stitch color knitting classes in the Interweave schedule for New England Knitting workshops in October 2012.  She is a well known artist and author of the Mosaic Knitting technique.

Here are some of her magnificent vessel creations which I would love to share with you..

Ready for more?  Here are some of her fabulous necklaces using this technique..


Here is a description of the technique's detail from her website:
"Ply-splitting is traditionally found in the Thar Desert region of northwest India and Pakistan. There it is used to create girths, straps, and carrying bags for camels.  Instead of elements moving over and under each other, in ply-splitting four-ply cords move through each other. A cord is split such that two plies are on one side of a tool and two plies on the other. Another cord is then pulled through the opening. Several cords can be split in succession with one cord pulled through all the openings. Resulting braids and vessels are dense, very durable, and lend themselves to sculptural effects."
Here is the original picture of her famous Mosaic knitting technique which led me to her website, but I unfortunately could not find any more on this particular creation...

A simple Google search on "Ply-splitting" will reveal tutorials and more inspirational ideas on this technique.


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