Tablet Weaving and Ply-Splitting Books, Tools & Kits
Tablet Weaving and Ply-Splitting Lectures/Demonstrations
If you are interested in a lecture/demonstration for your guild, please contact me for more information.
Traditional and Contemporary Tablet Weaving: Designs, Structures, and Uses
In this lecture/demo, I share my enthusiasm for this 2,500-year-old craft, and explain and demonstrate its delightful versatility. Tablets can be flipped and turned to produce many different weave structures and designs; warps can be twisted together, crossed, and pulled into a tube. My special interest is in traditional tablet-woven motifs from Asia and North Africa. I have studied and reproduced designs from many of these beautiful textiles, including garment trim with magical symbols from Indonesia, diaper bands from Persia, and curtains found in Ethiopian churches. I also enjoy exploring new ideas, and have used tablets to weave tubular necklaces, double-faced mug rugs, soft gauze-weave scarves, and inscription bands. I will show and discuss many pieces from my collection. For examples, see my Tablet Weaving Gallery and the descriptions/photos on my Studio Instruction page.
Tablet Weaving: Making a Continuous Warp and Weaving Warp Twined Designs
I use continuous warping for my own work, and teach this method. It is a fast, efficient method in which the tablets are threaded as a pack instead of individually. The warp is measured and tensioned and the tablets are placed in position all at the same time. After warping, the tablets are flipped and rotated before or during weaving to create different patterns and structures. I love to do this demonstration because people who have never seen this are so amazed. I will show and explain how to make a continuous warp, and then also do some weaving and explain how to manipulate the tablets to create geometric patterns in warp twining.
Tips & Tools for Happy Tablet Weaving
I have spent a lot of time perfecting old techniques and tools -- and inventing new ones. This lecture/demonstration includes continuous warping, A-B lines, warping wands, warp spreaders, boards, tensioning blocks, reed scraps, and tablet holders. I will explain and demonstrate, and you can ask questions about any aspect of tablet weaving that's baffling you.
The history of tablet-woven inscriptions is closely associated with different religious traditions. Inscription bands were made for pilgrims to Jerusalem, and used to wrap the loose pages of holy books in Burma. Bands inscribed with blessings for mother and child were used as "diaper bands" in Persia. Bands were often woven as an act of devotion. I will show and discuss the original pangrams that I wove using the alphabet graphs in my book Please Weave a Message, as well as other inscription bands. I will also demonstrate how to make a continuous warp and how to graph and weave letters in the double-faced weave.
The History of Ply-Split Braiding from Camel Girths to Fiber Art
Ply-split braiding comes to us from the desert between India and Pakistan, where men spin goat hair, ply the yarn into sturdy cords, and ply-split the cords into girths and necklaces for their camels. They also create several types of ply-split bags and holders which are hung up to keep pots and bowls out of the reach of children and animals. Contemporary fiber artists are using the techniques in new ways and with new materials. Starting with plied cords, I will demonstrate the unique feature of ply-splitting: plied cords go through other cords to create the fabric. I will discuss samples of traditional pieces, as well as my own work, which includes ornaments, jewelry, hats, bags, baskets, and rugs.
Ply-Split Braiding: A New Technique for Baskets
Most basket-makers are familiar with twining, but are just beginning to learn about ply-split braiding as a way to create twined structures. A ply-split basket can be a variation of a cylindrical braid. The first step is to make plied cords. Any linear element that can be twisted into a cord can be used, so the potential range of plant and animal fibers that can be used is huge. The unique feature of ply-split braiding is that the cords pass right through other cords. The twined structures -- POT (plain oblique twining) and SCOT (single-course oblique twining) can be used separately or together to create virtually any three-dimensional shape as well as any geometric design.
I will demonstrate a variety of methods for making plied cords, and demonstrate the tools that can be used to split the plies. I have made ply-split baskets from wool, alpaca, stainless steel, raffia, cotton, linen, paper, and fishing line, and I will show and discuss examples. In addition, I will show the samples in my "ply-split closet", which contains approximately 70 samples documenting the appearance of different fibers when made into cords and used for ply-split braiding.
Cordmaking for Ply-Split Braiding
Cords for ply-split braiding can be made with a drill with a single hook or a sophisticated 4-hook twister. I will explain the basic principles of cordmaking and how to use the different tools. I can also show how to use a 4-hook twister to make a variety of decorative cords. Any linear element that can be stretched out and twisted into a cord can be used for ply-splitting. I will show samples that I have made from many materials, including a variety of plant and animal fibers. Some of the interesting ones include paper, fishing line, dental floss, torn cotton/polyester bedsheets, and 100% stainless steel yarn.
Tablet Weaving and Ply-Splitting Demonstrations
I can demonstrate specific techniques, especially warp twining, the double-faced weave, Andean pebble weave, cordmaking, and any aspect of ply-splitting.
This page updated May 29, 2013.