Create some historic cords in June’s Crafting for Wellbeing session

Each third Saturday of the month, Tūhuratanga / Discovery | Level 3 on Tūranga hosts Crafting for Wellbeing, an open workshop where you can practice mindfulness through creating a cosy, simple craft. Each month’s session has a new craft to try out, and this June is particularly exciting - get ready to be transported back in time with some historical braiding!

The history behind the type of braiding wheel pictured above, also known as a trollen wheel, is shrouded in mystery. Some say it was invented in medieval times, and that the Vikings used it to create intricate woven cords and braids. But no archaeological proof of these wheels dating to the Middle Ages has been found - the first time we see evidence of this form of tool in Western Europe is a few hundred years later, in the 17th century. The braiding wheel does, however, share functional similarities with marudai, a Japanese tool that was likely made in the early Edo period (1603-1868). This wooden stand produces kumihimo, a type of braided cord that is very similar to what you will be crafting this session!

We will be using wheels which were made with the help of the awesome staff on Aūahatanga |Creativity, Level 4, Tūranga, and their laser cutter. If you're interested in making your own personalised braiding wheel - or any other crafty project you might have - you can book a creative to provide you with some top-notch assistance.

Braiding wheels are just one technique among many, including fingerlooping and the lucet tool, which have been used to create cords all around the world. The art of creating a braid goes beyond the physical act - it weaves together stories and practices from cultures that span time and place. And the end result is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also functional - you can incorporate these cords into jewelry, clothing, bag making, lacing, or any other creative projects you like!

If this sounds like it’s up your alley, come along to Crafting for Wellbeing on Saturday 15 June and give braiding a try. No prior experience required - expert weaver and braider Tiffani, who has previous given a talk about medieval braiding at Upper Riccarton Library, will be directing the session and providing plenty of guidance. It’s sure to be a fun, relaxing activity, from which you can take home a beautiful cord and a little piece of history. (Plus, it’s free!)

Check out weaving and braiding books from our collections

Weaving With Little Handmade Looms

Contemporary Weaving

Simple Weave

Little Loom Weaving

The Woven Home