Weaving in 3D = Plaiting

stainless steel and aluminum plaiting – Dail Behennah

I have a confession to make – I am a 2D person;  I work best on flat surfaces, paper, fabric, copper plate. Basically I draw, stencil or stitch images  onto stable sheets of material. Occasionally I take the images for walks round bodies or vessels, but although I studied, taught and worked in both fashion and textile design, my strength is in surface decoration, and the flatter the surface the better……so it is always perplexing but fascinating when I work with makers who are sculptural.

plaited containers – Dail Behennah

Dail Behennah, is a 3D maker at heart, although she does work in several divergent materials ranging from cane, through enamelled steel and copper, via stone and fabric. And for Heart Space Studios she is conducting the next Master Class using re-cycled paper for a 3D plaiting technique. “Plaiting is a way of weaving in three dimensions in which all the elements are active. (In most weaving techniques there is a passive set of warp threads and active weft threads weave between them). The thin-walled elegant forms which result may be viewed as vessels or sculpture.”

plaited forms – traditional baskets and hat with steel wire ball and triangular basket by Dail Behennah

The technique is common throughout the world wherever flat, ribbon-like materials are available. These include palm leaves, grasses, rush, bark and split bamboo. It is used to make flat mats

plaited leaf mat from Zanzibar.

and 3D structures

Cut the Woven Circle 1996 – Plaited Bamboo – Ueno Masao

ranging in scale from tiny shoes

Birch Bark shoe

to huge dams…..

Bamboo dam in China

as well as baskets designed to fulfill a variety of functions.

cane linen basket – Dail Behennah

The 2 day workshop will cover the basic techniques of bias and hexagonal plaiting and “corners may be turned wherever you wish. The aim is not to make a conventional basket but to push the technique as far as possible and see where it leads moving from 2 to 3 dimensions and back again…..

For dressmakers the process may be seen as similar to making your own fabric with integral darts. Each corner turned makes the material go off in a different direction, creating hollows and bumps.”

This idea has got me thinking about a plaited corset….imagine some of these cinched waist pieces in plaited ribbons or leathers….although Dail is using re-cycled papers as her main material it is expected that the participants will bring their own materials to experiment with as well.

The idea behind the Heart Space Studios Master Classes is for makers to expand their own practice by being introduced to a new technique or material by a tutor who is an acknowledged expert in their own practice – so sparking off new ideas and possibilities for other makers.

And to prove a point here is a 2D piece of work that has been inspired by this technique – 2 paper maps have been intersected by intricate stranded patterns for a water-coloured collage.

Hebrides/Manhattan(detail) – Woven Maps and Watercolour 1996 – Chris Drury.

3 thoughts on “Weaving in 3D = Plaiting

  1. I have just discovered this blog, and can see that I have a week of reading ahead of me to catch up. I admire the detailed and very open approach you have in your writing and teaching, and want to say thank you for this. Too often blog writers (like me) are too mysterious (for want of a better word) and why?

    I’ll read more and comment again.

  2. Hi Judy,
    I have been looking at your blog this morning – amazing that we have given our attention to similar sights and thoughts. I really loved your ideas around feeling not reading textiles – it links into the project Stitch & Think that I have been working on for the last few years…I must also give myself more time to delve into your blog…..so thank you for writing to me and drawing my attention to your way of seeing your world specially those skies……


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