Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Learning the ropes

My grandad was a nifty knotter. I remember as as small child I would watch him weave a wonderful knobbly string of onions with a few deft twists of twine, or construct a network of strings for beans. He was always unhurried, enjoying the making as much as the finished result just as any craftsman will do. Some scrap sheepskin became a pair of fleecy boots, to keep my little brother cosy in his pushchair. Grandad was a keen baker too, long before cookery talent shows came along. He would make cordials, pickle and salt vegetables and even made his own horseradish sauce from a plant in his garden. A visit to his house would send him to the pantry, and I would sample a succession of goodies, a happy chuckle would come from him at every expression of pleasure from me and he would return to the pantry again and again to pull out yet more treats!

This must have been one of my first encounters with any sort of weaving, together with being taught to knit and crochet by my granny. Christmas gifts of a ‘Spears’ weaving loom, bead stringing set, a french knitting doll and other assorted craft toys ingnited the creative flame that has burned in me throughout my life. I didn’t come across macramé until much later though, when it was chunky and often in the form of plant hangers and the ubiquitous owl hanging. Things have changed and now there are some exciting threads available to the jewellery maker. I’ve been patiently learning some new knotting techniques over the last couple of weeks, and the imagination is well and truly fired up with ideas for at least a dozen new pieces. 

I’ve just finished knotting round this fabulously large moss agate donut. Waxed linen is just right for such a chunky stone and I’ve paid particular attention to making the back look really neat and well finished. 

It occurs to me that I'm still that child with a ball of twine, happily occupied in making something completely out of my own imagination - unhurried and keen to make it neat, well finished and sturdy as well as beautiful. I hope grandad would approve.