The plait project began in April 2007, when Elsa Cappelli visited Bushfire Children's Home in Uganda to do outreach work. Elsa had worked as a milliner, crafts practitioner and educator for many years and was looking for materials to use that were different and were also ethically-made. She hoped that making these materials could provide an income for a community in need. On the first visit to Uganda, she taught a group of rural women a traditional European plait (Plait No.1) and has since gone on to develop others.
Uganda has a rich heritage of plaiting. The women in the group quickly took to making the narrower, textural plaits that Elsa introduced them to and have been producing them ever since. Now, they not only plait but are able now use it to make a series of stunning, special occasion hats – Artisan Hats.