Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Grasping the Illusive

Trying to grasp the illusive, isn't that what we often try to do?  Fleeting thoughts, connections, glimpses of something that could be profound and that really is why I'm trying to explain my choice of words for these exercises.

"Encode, encoding" to me they have a meaning for then and now: the past, that world of cyphers and spying, the mysterious world of John Dee; it is also part of the present with its computer resonances.  But the idea of using the word wasn't linked to either of these things, instead it occured when watching a short interview of an elderly couple on television.  Though long retired he had been a fisherman and she throughout her life had knitted his ganseys, those densely patterned, navy or cream close fitted pullovers designed to fit snugly, to protect and keep the cold at bay.

Herring Girls knitting, filling the time 'til the catch comes in.

So where is the link between ganseys and encoding?  Well, she explained how the many patterns knitted into these pullovers had names: Marriage Lines, Tree of Life, Fishnet.  They were in fact a form of abstract art connected to families and to places. passed down the generations.  It also occured to me that encoded in each gansey were similar messages to those I found in the envelopes arriving from my family, messages of an enduring connection that goes well beyond surface meaning.

1 comment:

  1. Another reason for the encoded patterns was that, when a body was found (fishing is not the safest of occupations!) after possibly having been in the water for long enough to make the identity impossible to tell, the poor victim could be identified by the pattern on his gansey. You have found a very interesting take on encoding, interesting to follow up on.