In this section I’m looking at knotted nets and how to create fishing net style meshes. The manual suggests using a netting shuttle (called a netting needle in Australia) or weaving shuttle to wind the fibre before starting work. The first thing I discovered is that it is illegal in Australia for fishing shops to stock and sell netting needles as a routine.
I applied to my local fishing shop and they sent the request to the net manufacturer who agreed to supply me with two such items from their catalogue. So why are they in the catalogue if no-one can purchase them normally? The government has restricted these shuttles to stop recreational fisherman and small business fisheries from making their own nets with holes smaller than the regulatory size, thereby stopping smaller fish from being hauled in. Yes, it used to be a common practice by unscrupulous operators. Netting needles are now only available to large trawlers which operate as bona-fide businesses and supply fish for sale through such large institutions as the Sydney Fish Markets.
So, whilst awaiting the arrival of my needles I thought that making a butterfly skein as I had used previously in A Creative Approach when weaving would work well. Well, no it doesn’t. I started my first trial piece, to get familiar with the knotting technique, using the tightly woven cotton I bought for my tapestry weaving warp. I got completely confused between the structure itself, the knotting area and the butterfly skein. It was very difficult to keep track of what I was doing.Top photo shows the finished piece in normal lighting, the bottom photo shows it with a bright but diffused light directed across it to enhance the reflected shadow. The knotting was done exactly as the manual explained and I wonder if it is the tight twist of the yarn that creates the loopy effect where it is not stretched or if it is the technique itself.
For my next sample I abandoned the butterfly skein and wrapped my yarn around a weaving shuttle. Although it was 26cm long with an open end it was more successful and it was easier to follow the knotting routine.. I also moved to a thicker yarn.
The left hand picture above shows the piece in normal lighting with the diffused light being applied again on the right. It has been pinned to a fabric covered corkboard with the piece suspended away from the background by the length of the pins. Hence the reason I’m able to get a good shadow effect.
I really like the mis-matched shadowing. Thinking back to my recent screen printing exercises it would be interesting to use these overlaid line / mesh ideas to build up a cloth pattern. It should be easily possible to cut mesh designs out of paper or acetate to use as stencils.
My main piece was to be larger and with some attachments. I used my print pad from the last assignment as a base to pin it to as I progressed which really helped the whole process. Unfortunately my netting needles still hadn’t arrived so I continued with the weaving shuttle. However, this worked well because I was using a thick wool and making large openings.
My colour theme was greens with a highlight of pink. Once the main structure was complete I twisted my highlight in place, securing it within each knot as it travelled up the piece. I initially used pink crystal organza but then changed to the variegated pink ribbon I had dyed a while ago. The organza, being translucent, had turned purple as it was wrapped around the green wool and it lost much of its dynamism whereas the pink ribbon, being opaque, kept the strength of its colour.
Torn strips of very light green organza were woven through the larger left hand section and square glass beads were attached to the hanging ends – both to add another translucent effect and to weight the ends so they hung instead of curled and tangled. On the upper right side I created a heavier section using torn cotton fabric strips. However, instead of being woven up and down through the structure, as per the green organza, each strip was attached individually around a single intersection.
The net was placed close to the background to give a sharper shadow and the light raised so the shadow sits closely positioned behind the work. I was focusing here on the pinned coathanger reflection and the hugely magnified end thread. Yes, I know it’s about the netting but I thought this picture was interesting anyway.
And finally ….. A close up where the torn edges of the fabrics can be more clearly seen and the difference between the solid knotted wool net and translucent organza weaving can be picked up in the shadow.
Never having made nets like this before it has been fun learning the knotting techniques and I’ve looked up several other knotted nets on the internet including the Cargo Net which I’m keen to try as well.