My goal for The Art of Braiding,
The Basics-Third Revised Edition is to present essential
braiding skills necessary for almost any project. It is an adaptation
of both the original black and white, The Art of Braiding
and The Art of Braiding, The Basics-Revised Edition. This
third revised edition remains a skill building resource useful
for a wide range of braiders with diverse interests.
In the two prior versions, braiding
skills and techniques were covered based on my teaching experiences.
With time, I have become more insightful about what students
want and need. As a result I feel this edition, with its additional
skills and added information, will be of value.
My objectives are the same: to
keep the diagrams easy to understand and follow, for novice braiders
to be able to experience success and want to continue braiding
and for the braider to learn to plait at least one of the following:
4 plait-basic for many smaller projects, 6 plait-also for smaller
projects, but with more refinement and strength and/or 8-12 plait-with
greater practicality for smaller projects, as smaller strings
can be used giving a fancier appearance. Most important, I would
like to encourage braiders to understand button pattern.
The main components of well-crafted
leatherwork are choosing and preparing quality materials, technical
braiding skills and artistic application. When I braid a project,
I choose the best materials available then braid with an emphasis
on functionality and durability and an equally attractive appearance.
Early in my riding and showing experiences, the only tack options
available were ill-fitting, unattractive, all braided headstalls
with poor adjustments. Consequently, from the beginning my objective
has been to braid beautiful, well-fitting, reliable tack that
is safe and easy to use. My intention for The Art of Braiding,
The Basics-Third Revised Edition is for it to be a foundation
for these qualities.
These skills are included in
this edition: Double loop lacing with one string and saddle skirt
lacing. There is a section on the application of a finish to
a completed project and, for the most serious braiders, there
is a section on building your own Cutter/Beveler.
As you work from the illustrations,
notice they are typically shown in the same position as they
are held when braided. The section on Applique Braiding, page
52, is an example. See how the appliquÈ braiding strings
start at the bottom of the piece and are held close to the body
as they are braided away from it.
Button configuration is learned
using the mandrel, a wooden dowel, the size determined by string
width. It is used as a tool for braiding button patterns and
experimentation. To clear up any confusion, most buttons are
NOT braided on the mandrel then transferred to a project. When
applying a button to an item, it is braided directly onto the
piece. This takes much less time and improves the look and feel
of the finished item.
Buttons illustrated on pages
29-46are all braided on a mandrel labeled A, B, C and D. If keeping
your place on the mandrel is difficult, as you practice braiding
these buttons, it may be helpful to color the mandrel illustrations
with colored pencils. I would suggest the following colors:
A-Blue B-Green C-Red D-Yellow
The Art of Braiding, The Basics-Third
Revised Edition includes:
1.) Graphic and photographic illustrations.
2.) Colored arrows and lines for clarity on all illustrations.
3.) Additional rules, notes and hints to aid pattern understanding.
4.) Full text instruction for all passes in each illustration.
The terminology is what I have
become accustomed to over the years. I have tried to stay as
correct as possible, but have found in this art, term consistency
is vague. Therefore, I assume other authors have also been more
interested in braiding than nomenclature.
For reference the Glossary, Index
of Tools & Skills, Hints & Notes and a Materials, Tools
& Supply Source List have been updated.
Braiding, like many arts, has
more than one method to achieve a single goal. As I learned the
art of braiding, I gradually developed and adopted techniques
that worked best for me and suited my style. You too will pick
and choose those processes that advance your skills.
My intention is for you to find
the greatest value possible from this third revised edition while
in pursuit of your art of braiding.