Before our trip to America and quite by chance, I discovered that a Gansey Symposium would be held in late September at the museum in Sheringham. I booked for the two days and it more than lived up to expectation marrying the social history of ganseys and their creation.
A knitting workshop revealed how traditional patterns were charted and we were able to test out ideas on paper and in wool. A number of experts, Stella Ruhe (collector and writer), Rita Taylor (designer and knitter) and Deb Gillander of Propagansey, guided and inspired, giving us insights into the significance of these garments.
The museum displayed beautiful examples of ganseys hung on poles above boats and other fishing paraphernalia. These were both from Holland and our own coastlines, some so fine they had been knitted on size 17 needles and with three-ply worsted wool: the stitch count 13 stitches and 19 rows to the inch. Such beauty created on the move, in spare moments within a busy day. The single-coloured surfaces carrying motifs connecting maker and wearer to the sea and the landscape of home.
These fascinating two days were an ideal way of trying to get back on track. I am attracted to the repetitious way gansey motifs are used. I wonder whether it's possible to create knitted surfaces out of these patterns not in wool, but in string and then use these surfaces either to emboss handmade paper or make rubbings.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
So here I am again, using writing to try and establish what's going on. The "just do it" mantra has worn thin of late and though I have a number of half started projects, the materials laid out ready on trays, the impetus to move on with them isn't there. This feeling isn't trivial: it's the result of layers of concern and upset brought about by the death of friends, a neighbour's palliative care and my niece's late breast cancer diagnosis. All this woven through with my elderly mother-in-law's reluctance to move into care. These events are happening now, and they are quite enough, but their existence also wakens the past linking the two in a connective web which twists and tightens at the most inopportune moments. It brings emotion too close to the surface, making all but the simplest things hard work. I've called this post "Using Your Time Well" and that, especially given the circumstances, is still my intention but I'm not quite sure how to re-engage my creative drive.