Venetian Fringe

During June 2017 I took part in the British Council’s Fellowship programme in Venice, where I learned macramé weaving, a technique of making textiles through knotting rope. This developed into the series CAPRICIOUS CARTOGRAPHY: a means of mapmaking that is more equivocal, capricious and unstable than traditional cartography.

Macramé is said to derive from the knotting of leftover fringes of woven carpets. I like the idea of these peripheral, fringe elements eclipsing the original starting point to develop into the main event – a bit like the Edinburgh Fringe for example.

In a similar vein, Venice was founded by Roman refugees fleeing frequent Barbarian invasions in mainland Italy. They found a few marshy mud plains off the coast and settled on this mutable ground. Gradually over many centuries, settlement on the islands created every Venetian pavement, alley and campo. Everything had to be built and woven together: no ground is natural in Venice. These are maps of the Venetian Lagoon, the woven parts are the mainland but the main attraction is the knotted fringe.