Knots

“[The] simple act of tying a knot is an adventure in unlimited space … an excursion that is limited only by the scope of our own imagery and the length of the rope maker’s coil.” Clifford Ashley, The Ashley Book of Knots, published 1944

This series on paintings on paper are based on knots, both practical and figurative. Since ancient times, knots have been an essential form of technology for medical practitioners and seafarers, among others. When a baby is born, the umbilical cord is tied into a knot. Sailors learn how to tie a variety of different knots to serve different purposes. In language, there are many symbolic uses of the word knot, such as "tying the knot", which means to get married. The Gordian Knot, a metaphor for an impossible feat, is based on a legend from the fourth century BCE. Moreover, knots are often employed in religious ceremonies and rituals. They were used to keep records for the Incas, celebrate a birth or marriage in numerous cultures, and summon strong winds for the Laplanders, for example. As representations of unity and complexity, knots are functional, spiritual, and ambiguous at the same time.