To Clifford Ashley, "the simple act of tying a knot is an adventure in unlimited space." Over a year ago, I was encouraged to see what would happen if I tried scaling my knots up in size. I don't think this kind of 'unlimited space' is what Clifford had in mind, but the adventure is working for me.
Banana Knot #361 is one of the thousands documented in his 1944 book and, honestly, it's probably one of the silliest. It's simply an overhand knot and a hitch, meant to be tied in a series along a lanyard to create a stopper, such that you can sling your banana bunches over each stopper and they can hang in an organized fashion. This is for "Fruit Men" dealing in multitudes of bunches hanging from the rafters, I think. I tested the knot with one bunch. First, you create a sort of sling that wraps around the bunch with its own stopper, and that drapes over your Banana Knot #361. Here's what that looks like:
But I'm less concerned about hanging my bananas, frankly, and more interested in the form of knots. For Ashley, each knot has a specific function and certain qualities that define it. There is a purpose, a puzzle, and above all, a correct form.
I find the rightness or wrongness of knots so appealing. I love puzzles, clarity, categorization, well-defined rules. I find the ambiguity and freedom in art confounding and intimidating. The boundaries of knots give me a safe place to play.
(And, my secret is this: in art, almost everything is subjective. But in this case, while you may not LIKE my banana knot, I can feel confident in knowing it is technically the correct form. This is, I've found, my gateway to confidence in the 'art world.')
Thus, the giant banana knot, made with reed, a few feet wide, completely unreasonable. The form is correct, though the function is not - it would certainly not hold a bunch of bananas.
I'm so thrilled that Banana Knot #361 hangs at the Springfield Art Association in Springfield, IL, in September 2023 as part of From Fiber, a group show juried by the most wonderful and talented fiber artist and teacher Ann B. Coddington. I learned through the digital grapevine that it was also given an Honorable Mention - a "major award," if you ask me.
It will be up for the month of September if anyone is passing through Springfield!
yarns and snippets is a little corner where I'll share some writing, recording my story in a way that's more comfortable for me - long form over social media. so, a bit of a journal and a record of my work, workshops, markets and weaving and knotting journey.