One Knot: 240 Metres of Rope, 2,200 Crossings - 3 Months Work!

Zen and the Art of Knots

Celtic knotwork has fascinated me for over 30 years now. It has always been drawn, painted, etched and carved etc., so I set myself a completely new challenge to tie the longest Celtic knot I could. And to my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been done before. Although this type of knotwork is labelled Celtic, it really has roots in all cultures around the world.

"House Of Ancestors" is tied around a handmade wrought iron frame into one single parallel knot using 785 ft (240 m) of 1/4” (6 mm) cotton rope with no joins. The overall size is 48” (122 cm) wide by 72” (184 cm) tall. It crosses itself approximately 2,200 times and starts and finishes at the bottom in monkey fists.

But the most interesting thing about the whole process (that I realised after a few months) was that it mimics real life. Everybody is unique - the decisions you make from day one always have a consequence later on, so when you turn left, right or go straight on, when eventually you come back to that point you will have to deal with that former decision and deal with it. So every hanging is different. In something this large you have 2,200 decisions, so the permutations are endless.

When you start you're tying in 'mid air' it is very easy to make a mistake at this stage. If you either go under or over the wrong way, or turn at the wrong point, mistakes will probably only make themselves clear once you've completed most (or all) of the panel - after a very long time, so concentration is zen-like - for months!!! Also, handling all that rope is a logistical nightmare - it always wants to twist and pull everything out of shape.

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Tags: Art, Visual Arts

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on November 26, 2013 at 10:09am

Very cool, Murray.  Thanks for sharing it here.

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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on November 26, 2013 at 11:28am

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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on November 26, 2013 at 1:09pm
Comment by Gerry Regan on November 27, 2013 at 11:21am

Murray, how long did it take you to complete this? It sounds like a wonderful Celtic-themed wall hanging. Is it for sale?

Comment by Murray Heasman on November 27, 2013 at 11:33am

Hi Gerry,

Indeed, it took me three months :-) !  And yes, I suppose it would be for sale if the right offer was forthcoming.  I'm very attached to it - we used to be able to hang it in our last house, but unfortunately we don't have a space to hang it currently, so it's stored safely at home for now until we have somewhere larger :-) .  Having said that though, if there was an offer, I'd look at it.

I have another one too which I'll post up shortly.



Comment by Murray Heasman on November 27, 2013 at 1:14pm

Here's the other one.


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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on November 27, 2013 at 1:19pm
Comment by Bit Devine on November 27, 2013 at 1:27pm

Murray, a chara, these are both stunning pieces! They will be enjoyed by your family for generations if treated right...

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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on December 1, 2013 at 9:28am

"TARA THE GAME 5% holiday discount code WILDGEESEXMAS13"

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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on November 16, 2016 at 10:45am


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