I’m still working on the idea of my maternal (g) grandmothers and how they have influenced my mothering. My ideas are swirling around in my head and I need to start executing them.
Khipu, although far removed from my culture, are a method of record keeping by the use of knot making. There is a detailed explanation on The Khipu Database Project website. Cords of cotton run from a horizontal or curved main string. The cords are twisted fibre which may or may not be coloured then knotted.
I’m drawn to the use of knots for two reasons: one being the idea of family ties and the other through reading.
From What Makes an Object Evocative Sherry Turkle
“Another of Parpet’s students, Carole Strohecker, proposes knot tying as a micro world that similarly combines ideas with emotions.(My italics). Here I pair her essay with the writing of Levi-Strauss, a connection that puts the focus on the cognitive. But reading Strohecker’s narrative from a psychoanalytical shifts the emphasis to emotion and the particular needs of individuals. In Playing and Reality, Winnicott describes how one of his patients, a seven year old boy, becomes obsessed with string in response to anxiety of being separated from his hospitalised mother. At each hospitalisation, the boy turns to string play as solace, as a way of coping with her absence.
I’m also exploring other ways in which to represent the family rather than the standard family tree, where descendants are shown coming downwards or as I depicted with my ascendants rising up. The khipu offers me the means of expressing this latter idea further – that I am the central horizontal point with my descendants falling below and my ascendants above.
This also ties in with my reading of Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and Multiplicity by John Marks where the rhizome is discussed. The hierarchical model of the tree with its roots and branches is dismissed and replaced by one based on the rhizome which has no structured form but is heterogeneous.
“In contrast the rhizome is neither mimetic or organic. It only ever maps the real, since the act of mapping is a method of experimenting with the real: and it is always an open system, with multiple exits and entrances.”
Time to do some experimenting, making cords. Firstly I cut pieces of no 20 flax about 3 meters long.
Then I went on to use string
And back to my favourite – dishcloth cotton
I did a small piece of needle weaving with the flax but as weaving neither references my family or the khipu I left it uncompleted.
Next time I’ll look at some knots – I’m mindful I don’t want this piece to look like macramé.