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:
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.
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.
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.
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.