This very happy man is Erroll Pires who has been blessed in his life to be passionately dedicated to follow his life’s work in preserving the ancient craft of ply-split braiding. The technique is one cord passing through another to strengthen the braid and originally was used for camel belts for saddles and harnesses.
Erroll graduated from the previously mentioned NID ( National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad) without finding his chosen life’s work in design. After several years he returned to the school to be on faculty in order to pursue research on ancient Indian craft. He became fascinated by hand-braided camel belts and bags. His life’s purpose became saving this nomadic lifestyle craft in the face of continuing urbanization.
He went to Rajasthan to the camel herders’ gathering grounds and found a grand master of ply-braiding, Ishwar Singh Ghatti who accepted Pires as a student with three stipulations. He must practice daily, not keep the styles to himself, and he must not solely desire to make money or fame , but desire first the preservation of the craft.
During his tenure he produced and taught the skills necessary to produce a huge array of camel belts,and bags, and designed and produced a series of wearable art including jewelry, stoles , necklaces, and even dresses. He often could be seen walking around with tangled cords around his neck, which he would turn into a braided finished piece by evening. Ply-braiders are recognizable with filed overgrown thumbnails thus carrying their braiding tools with them at all times!
Namaste. . . . . . . . This Is Incredible India!