Meet Al Canner

It’s about time I made a new blog post.  And I have a reason why.  I was contacted by Al Canner (I love hearing from artists!) who showed me his knotting which I love both because he loves it and because I’m sure that I would recognize his work if I saw it.  There is so much knotting out there that doesn’t reflect the style of the knotter.   Not Al’s work.  See for yourself.

Here is his artist statement:

Basket (Deconstructed)

Basket (Deconstructed)

Because so much of my life has been lived through the lens of the left brain, indulging in the right-brain creativity of macramé has been a wonderful “crossover” experience – and no doubt one that has helped to keep me sane.

I began tying knots in the early 1970s when I was in my 20s, completely self-taught and at first focusing on the then-ubiquitous jute plant hangers.  During the next several years my work evolved, incorporating increasingly sophisticated design, color, and structure.

On several lucky occasions in those early years of knotting, I came upon hobby shops holding going-out-of-business sales; at very low prices, I was able to fill a trunk with more than 100 spools of twine, offering a nuanced rainbow of colors, materials, gauges, and inspiration.  A half-dozen years later, a gallery fire destroyed all my best pieces (although at the time the insurance payment was welcome).  My response was a decades-long hiatus.

In my early 50s, while enjoying a two-year break between careers, I rediscovered the trunk in which I had stored my collection of twine.  I began knotting again, and in these years since I have averaged one work per year, each piece representing many score of contented hours of “labor.”  Retired since early 2013, I’m thrilled to devote much more time to knotting.

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Most of my works are wall hangings, although a few are designed to sit on flat surfaces.  I begin each piece with a fairly well formed idea of the final product.  However, as all knotters know, the work constantly is informed by the individual character of the twine and the dynamism created by combining twines of varying gauges and textures.

 

 

South America

South America

 

Some of my works incorporate found objects, and many are inspired by nature. Color plays a central role in all my pieces, which commonly combine fiber made of cotton, hemp, jute, linen, and rattail.  Rather than rely on an infrastructure for support or shape, most of my pieces depend solely on the robust strength of the knots themselves, almost always the humble double half-hitch.

Southeast Utah

Southeast Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I greatly enjoy the feel of the fiber passing through my hands; the “slap” of the twine on my workboard; the constant challenges that present themselves for conquering or instructing; and the satisfaction of looking critically at my finished work, occasionally feeling proud that a particular square inch or two turned out so well.

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[See Al’s work at www.cannerfiberart.com.   Contact Al at alan.canner@colorado.edu.]

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Finally, a Resource to Learn Sculptural Knotting Techniques

For years I’ve been searching books and the internet in search of resources to learn how to create knotted sculptures.  But I never found anything.   I wanted to knot in 3D!  So I went to California to learn from knotters who know these techniques.

I left CA feeling the privilege and responsibility of preserving and promoting the techniques of sculptural knotting.  It seemed to me that if I didn’t do it, who would?   So I not only learned these techniques, but also recorded them  on video.

And now they are now available to everyone at  http://knotmore.com/tutorials.html.

The teacher in the videos is Norman Sherfield.  Norman has been knotting for over 30 years and was a fabulous teacher.  You can see examples of his work on the below.

 

There are 4 videos so far. I recommend watching them in order as videos begin at a beginner level and advance to intermediate level.

In the first video Technique for Starting a Knotted Sculpture you will learn circular knotting techniques that allow you to start knotting around objects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second video Technique for Attaching Knotting to an Object teaches you how to attach your knotting to an object.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technique for Creating a Tubular Knotted Core is the first video in the 2nd series.  In this video you will be knotting through a found object, beginning with an inside-out tubular core.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally in the last video (so far – there’s more coming!) Technique for Creating & Expanding a Knotted Core Through an Object you will be attaching the inside of a tubular core to an object.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it!  I’m immensely proud of this project and invite you to discover even more possibilities of knotting!

http://knotmore.com/tutorials.html

 


California

Here is a feast for your eyes of images taken from my trip to California in May, 2013.  I was awarded a Career Development Grant from the McKnight Foundation and Region 2 Arts Council of Minnesota which enabled me to travel to Eureka, CA and Los Angeles, CA for a mentorship with Norman Sherfield and to meet the L.A. Knotters.  I learned techniques for fiber sculpture while there specifically knotted sculpture.  I worked closely with Norman and was lucky to spend a few days working with Leah Danberg as well.

Enough said, let’s look photos!  Here is a brochure featuring knotted sculpture from the LA Knotters.

And here are photos of the wonderful day I spent with this group who have been knotting together for over 20 years. 

Gerri McMillin, Norman Sherfield, Merrill Morrison and Leah Danberg - Knotters I really admire!

While there I managed to see some sights and work on this piece –

 

 

 

 

 

It was the chance of a lifetime to work with some of the only fiber sculptors working in knotting.  I am more committed than ever to this art form and invite anyone who would like to learn these techniques to contact me at soulcandy@macramecollective.com and we will work to form groups around the world to learn this amazing art form.

More exciting news!!!  Video tutorials teaching fiber sculpture techniques are coming soon to KnotMore.com.  There is no other resource online or in any books that I am aware of that teach these techniques.  Each video will teach a technique you can use to create your own knotted sculptures!  They will be $5 each.  Stay tuned as this will be coming soon and is amazing, exciting news!

Here are more photos from the L. A. Knotters to inspire you.

 

 

 

Inspired

I’ve been exploring California for four days with eyes hungry for inspiration.  While I’m hiking trails, beaches and riverbeds I seem to be always thinking, “What would that look like as a fiber sculpture?”  Each rock on the on the beach flirts with me as if to say, “I’d make a great wrapped rock.  Do you see the way my white stripe creates an interesting line?  You could work with that Dawn.  Pick me up, take me with you and see what happens.”  Until pretty soon I have 15 pounds of rocks in my fanny pack and still have a couple miles to hike back to the car!

 

 

 

 

There is an unrelenting order in the forest and equally unrelenting disorder.  It resembles life.  I’ve tried forcing myself to be tidy and orderly.  I once graphed out the pattern for connecting Fibonacci spirals on actual graph paper and I knotted it.  I was proud to pull it off.  But now I prefer to let the ends be loose.  Let the cord fall where it may.  Watch the patterns emerge as I make them. 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m more interested these days in the process of the construction of the piece.  I don’t even care if I finish the piece.  I’m finding the joy in figuring out how to make the cord do that thing I see in my mind.

I started knotting a box yesterday.  I want it to be a box structure with layers of wrapping that envelope each layer so when it opens it unfold in several ways.  It’s a lofty goal and I have a good start but already see design problems.  And that’s the problem with knotting.  It takes a really long time to get to the point that you realize you should have thought of that hours ago and now it’s either too late to fix or you better get real creative real fast to salvage your hours of work.

 

 

 

Tomorrow I start working with Norman.  I’ll bring my faulty rock box and see what he has to say about it.

And that’s why I’m the luckiest girl in the world.  Time to start making all kinds of mistakes so he can fix em.

 

 

Knot School – Day One

“Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”  Virginia Woolf said that.  I read it in Ann Lamott’s book on the plane traveling to Eureka, CA.  Today I begin a mentorship in sculptural knotting with artist Norman Sherfield.  I’m grateful I read that because I’ve been trying to frame my mind around how to approach this mentorship and that sums it up for me.

 

So this morning instead of wondering if I’m good enough or creative enough or if what I make will be interesting or total crap I’m thinking, “I’ll just arrange whatever pieces come my way.

 

Here are my tools.  Ready, Set, Go.

Made by Martin and Ugne

I immediately fell in love with the combination of silver and fiber in the jewelry of Martin and Ugne from ARUMIdesign.  I am please to introduce you all to their work.  

We, Martin (Spain) & Ugne (Lithuania), are a couple of artisans sharing life and work, dreams and ideas. Our workshop holds two very different materials – metal and fiber – silversmithing and macrame. We are learning everyday from each other and together and little by little creating ARUMIdesign.

We love colors and we use a big range of them in our works. Playing with color combinations we created our RAINBOW collection. It´s pure textil, no stones or beads and in our opinion it´s wonderful just like that. Combinating colorful knotted triangles in different shapes we managed to create interesting designs like Rainbow Spiral pendant or Rainbow necklace, something we never saw before and we feel proud of.

 

 

 

 

 

Why do you make jewelry?

Because we really enjoy this work, we love it and never get bored of it (only if we have to reproduce 18 pairs of earrings for an order…). As well being artisans who work for ourselves gives us lots of freedom to travel and this is very important in our lives.

Why do you choose the shapes and stones and style for your work?

We just make things as we would like to wear. We are still learning and looking for new techniques, so our works are quite different from each other, we love creating new designs.

We have a passion for gemstones, every time we take one we think how it would stand out better.

Sometimes we imagine a design and try to make it, sometimes we just take threads and start knotting and looking where it goes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who taught you knotting? Well, at the end of 2008 we met a Chilean guy selling macramé jewelry in Rio de Janeiro and he taught us how to do a basic bracelet, the one with half rhombus. When we were in the middle of the process, the police came and everybody ran away, so Martin saw himself alone with a half bracelet done attached to a palm tree in Ipanema beach. That was the only lesson we had (actually two: run if you see a Brazilian police coming to you).

Traveling in South America we saw so much macrame jewelry that we just had to try learning some macrame. There was no teacher, just a lot of hours trying to imagine how some knots where done until we managed doing them. Our inspiration was coming from the street sellers, but never reproducing their pieces, just looking to different knots and making our own designs. When we got more experienced sometimes we would exchange different knots with other macramé lovers. One year later we where absolutely in love with this beautiful technique, and we make it our way of life and our full time job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What cord do you prefer and why? We use Linhasita cord, waxed polyester thread. In fact we don’t like the idea of using synthetics in a handmade work, but we couldn’t find another option for our designs.

Do you teach? Only some friends or friendly people we meet while selling, just for fun.

Do you exhibit?  We exhibit in street markets in Andalucía, south Spain, and sometimes we even sell. During the summer we have a stand in Nerja (Malaga) handicraft night market. You are all welcome next year!

What books have influenced your work? We have never seen or red a book about macrame… but we did read other books.

Tell us about the artists you most admire.

Actually until we found www.macramecollective.com we didn’t have any example to follow. In south of Spain it’s not very usual to see macrame artists. Speaking about macrame jewelry, we like very much the style and designs of Karen Smith, the technique of Marion Hunziker-Larsen and to complete the podium Joan Babcock with her amazing combinations of colors, all of them great artists.

If you were not a knotting artist, what would you be? Jeweler, in fact we are learning silversmithing… Before we had very different jobs, nothing to do with art or handicrafts.

What does your future hold? After Martin studied jewelry two years ago, we are mixing silver with macramé so we hope our future goes in this line. We would love to have the chance of working only in our unique designs connecting macramé with silver, bronze, leather or other materials, always open to learn. Our dream is to work from our home and sell online, to the shops or in expositions but we think this dream is still a little far away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see more of their work, please visit:

http://www.facebook.com/ARUMIdesign

http://www.etsy.com/shop/arumidesign

To contact Martin and Ugne via email: arumi.info@gmail.com

 

Ever Heard of Margaretenspitze?

I was recently introduced to the Margaretenspitze technique of knotting by RaquelCruz in her interview with Adriana Lazzari.  I believe all of us will be awed by the technique.  Thank you to Raquel and Ms. Lazzari for their contribution and for giving us resources for learning more.

 

Tell us more about the Margaretenspitze technique?
The Margarete lace is a technique that uses knots, that derives from Macramé. It was invented by Margarete Naumann in the early 1900s. With this technique, she wanted to leave out the rigid knot, then known, with the creation of a particular way to make lace. This technique remained in limbo for almost a century, until Lotte Heinemann started studying the lace works that were in museums and private homes.
This technique makes it possible to develop the work in any direction, creating both flat and three-dimensional elements.
In trying to accomplish this technique is not necessary to have drawings or diagrams. You only need the knowledge of some basic rules and you can begin to create items for a special and personalized fit, born in the imagination of anyone. The technique consists of picking up the threads into bundles and then dropping them, using simple and multiple knots, double, triple and quadruple, inserting and removing processing threads.

How did you learn this technique and since when have you been practicing it?

I found this technique through the book “Makrame” by Eva Andersen, 1984. Then, by chance, during a trip in 2004, I found the book by Lotte Heinemann which became my guide to learn all the rules of this art to which I devoted myself to study it with passion.
Now I try to create projects of new works and then describe them in Instructional tutorials with many pictures of the steps and try to diffuse it through a website I have with my friend Lucia:  www.ilmiomacrame.com

The site has courses, publications, cards, to teach everyone who wants to learn.

How could someone learn more about this technique? We know you’ve published a book, can you tell us about it?
If someone wanted to learn Margaretenspitze, they can attend my classes or study the technique in the book “Macramé il Pizzo Margarete” by Adriana Lazzari.
I wrote this book so that those who can not attend my classes could learn the art of self-teaching. The book contains the rules of art, exercises, applications of the rules on the bundles, many elements of the cord and 15 cards rich in practical applications by illustrations accompanied by explanations.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently preparing new models dress ornaments, for example:
brooches, earrings, necklaces, monograms, decorations for clothing, etc.

Can you tell us more about yourself?
Since my childhood, I had a special relationship with threading until I finally achieved adequate academic education.
I was lucky to have a job where the thread was the basis for the creation, in fact, I learned at the Bobbin Lace school in Gorizia (Italy), where new teachers are engaging and where I had the opportunity to convey my passion for this wonderful art. When I retired from work, I worked with great satisfaction and entirely with macrame, especially the lace Margarete, at that time not well known.

What are your plans for the future?
Normally I do not plan for the future, when I finish studying and researching a project, I immediately have the momentum of developing another fit, depending on the needs at the moment.

 

Thank you to Raquel Cruz for sharing this interview.  To see more of Raquel’s work, visit

http://www.etsy.com/shop/RaquelsBeaDesigns

The Work of Joh Ricci

We are very proud to introduce our readers to the work of Joh Ricci through an article by Trudi Van Dyke. The full article was published in the latest issue of Fiber Art Now. Kindly, they have allowed us to reprint it here: The Work of Joh Ricci: Fine Art or Fine Craft?

Below is an excerpt from the article.

Joh Ricci’s creative and imaginative sculptures raise knotting beyond its perceived low level decorative purposes that the typical viewer associates with macrame. One look at the sculptures defines the artist’s method of knotting as an innovative elevation of craft to fine art.
Ricci shares that her work begins with sketches to develop her ideas and plans for her structures. She prefers to work on two or three pieces at a time allowing her to reflect on the progress of each work by returning to it after a break. She embraces the guidelines of her design sketches, but surrenders to her creative instincts as the work develops its own path.


Her nylon fiber is hand dyed with commercial dyes in stages until she reaches the color saturation she envisions. Her work is highlighted with a distinctive pallet of bright and bold hues. The demarcation between colors in a particular sculpture speaks to the development of her skills using color as well as technique to define her goals. Unique novelty yarns and threads are incorporated with additional techniques of rolling, crochet, and hand weaving to accentuate a particular portion or feeling of the sculpture.The three-dimensional pieces are generally first sculpted with natural materials to establish a base of support. The knots are then begun at a random point and tacked down onto the substrate. Work progresses as Joh ties knot after knot in seemingly endless progression that can become mesmerizing as the sculpture evolves. Texture is developed as the knots are joined tightly to each other. The size of the threads and the shape of the knots, as well as the color progression, enhance the vision. Layers of height within individual knots elevate the impressions of three dimensionality within the sculpture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workshop Announcement

Crown Knotting & Fiber EndingsWorkshop at BABE!

Friday, November 2, 2012 – Bay Area Bead Extravaganza – Oakland, CA

Sign up early as this class has sold out every year. Plan to spend the whole weekend at BABE. The show and classes at BABE are great and well worth attending. On Saturday and Sunday, I will be having a booth at the show with supplies, kits and jewelry, plus demos. While there, I plan to do some shopping myself from many of the vendors and artists there.

Sign up for classes, book your flight and stay on site at the hotel and make BABE 2012 a special weekend or come just for the day!

Crown knotting or the crown knot sennit is an elegant solution for stringing beads with larger holes such as antique beads and keeping them from touching each other. The crown knots have many advantages over traditional overhand knots. The knots are completely symmetrical. They are easier to keep snug against the beads and are especially well suited when stringing beads with large holes or uneven holes as the ratio between the cord going through the beads and the actual size of the knot is larger than with overhand knots.

Topics to be covered
Tying Crown Knot Sennit with and without a Kumihimo Disk
Starting the Sennit
The Button
The Button Loop
Endings without Loose Thread
Best Materials to Use & Sennit Size Charts

Please note: A bracelet will be made during class. Larger projects can be made after class.
Class Fee: $120 – Registration Fee $10 – Kit Fee: $18
Hours: 10 to 6 with 1 hour for lunch

Info at www.jewelsinfiber.com/workshop or www.beadextravaganza.com
Sign up at www.beadextravaganza.com/register
Signing up is a bit counterintuitive. If you choose to sign up using Paypal, click on symbol, accept terms, then go to Purchase Classes – it is the top link on the left navigation. All the other links take you right back to links already on BABE main website. Choose Friday Classes – Crown Knotting will be the 8th class down the list.

BABE SHOW – Saturday and Sunday, November 3-4**
Hours 10-6

This is my fourth year teaching Crown Knotting at BABE. This year, we will have two teaching assistants, what a luxury. So sign up as soon as you can!

I look forward to seeing you either at the workshop or at the show! – Marion

Website: www.jewelsinfiber.com
Blog: jewelsinfiber.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jewelsinfiber
Twitter: twitter.com/jewelsinfiber