Matt and Jill Beaudoin of MysticKnotwork have been knot working together for over 15 years, a tradition in the Beaudoin family for well over 50 years.
The art of knotwork (or marlinespike seamanship) is a field of decorative work with a tradition that dates back to the invention of cord. The braided bracelets Matt and Jill make are one continuous piece of cord approximately 3 yards long. Through a series of bends and tucks, a woven pattern is created that resembles a traditional hair braid. Unlike macramé, these are a single knot made with one piece of cord. To make a traditional sailor knot bracelet, the only tools needed to tie the knot are bare hands. When making complex knots, using a packing needle or icepick helps feed the cord through the progressively tightening weave.
Matt's grandfather learned how to do knot work from retired officers while he was working as a bosun’s mate in the Merchant Marine. He later went to school for this art at the Seaman’s Institute in New York City. Matt's father and uncle carried the tradition forward, and Matt was taught to tie the basic sailor bracelet before he was able to ride a bike. He's now been tying these knots for over 30 years, and has made well over 100,000 of them just as a kid. Matt's grandfather would pay him for each one he made as a way to earn allowance. People ask if Matt enjoys tying sailor bracelets, and his response is, ‘do you enjoy your heartbeat?’ Tying sailor bracelets are so much a part of Matt's life that its hard to find him without one close by.
In 1987, Matt made over 50 decorative rope mats for a condo development on Long Island. It was the first time he worked directly for a customer. Through the years, he has owned a fabric store, worked in a Fortune 500, but all the time, the feel of cord in hand has kept him grounded - the definite tie to the history of his family, as well as the connection to the sea. Every time Matt picks up cord, he is reminded of his grandfather. He cherishes the memories of staying at his grandfather's house, learning fancy knotwork and macramé.
When Matt met his wife, Jill, she was into beading and sewing. Jill quickly gained a love for the knotwork and her artistic touch has added to my family's tradition. Now, Matt and Jill also make macramé, a series of simple knotwork creating a complex pattern, those are made by hitching square knots and similar knots around a core of either cotton or satin.
Matt and Jill take quality very seriously. They buy their raw materials from U.S. companies and do their best to source items locally while buying in super-wholesale quantities. They try hard to minimize their carbon footprint in everything they do.
Matt and Jill work with non-profit organizations to provide their bracelets for fundraisers. Over 70% of funds raised through our bracelets stay with the charity that buys them. (Did you know that only 15-30% of money from school fundraising stays with the schools?)
For more information on MysticKnots and to keep up to date on Matt and Jill's work, visit their website at www.mysticknotwork.com. Matt and Jill can also be found on Etsy, facebook and flickr.
While you are looking around MysticKnotwork, take advantage of Matt and Jill's special offer - 15% off every item (in their Artfire shop) with coupon code NMBlog. This special offer will run through May 21, 2010.
For a chance to win this week's giveaway:
Mandatory: Visit MysticKnot, come back to this blog post (not facebook) and post your favorite item and email address in the comments section of this post.
Additional chances to win (leave a separate comment with your email address for each entry):
1) Tweet the giveaway and post a link to your tweet in the comments below - 1 extra entry (once daily)
You may tweet the following: Win 2 #handmade sailor knotwork bracelets or a set from MysticKNot @ http://bit.ly/5yrO5o ~ 2 WINNERS. @NMGiveaway #Artfire #etsy #giveaway
2) Blog about the giveaway and post a link to your blog post in the comments below - 1 extra entry
3) Add one of my ad buttons (left hand sidebar) to your blog or website and post a link to your site in the comments - 1 extra entry
4) Join Nature Manipulated's mailing list (by doing this you agree to receive a monthly newsletter from NM)- 1 extra entry
5) Follow my blog publicly via Friend Connect - 1 extra entry
6) Purchase an item from the featured shop and post a link to the item you purchased (transaction link) - 5 extra entries
ENTRIES WITHOUT CONTACT INFORMATION WILL NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE GIVEAWAY. (Email address, Etsy username and Artfire username accepted. If your Blogger profile links to your email or shop, that is acceptable too. Leave contact info for each entry. Tip: When leaving your email do not use the @ and . symbols, instead spell out AT and DOT.)
Entries for this giveaway will be accepted through Sunday, April 25, 2010, 11:59pm Eastern Time. I will notify the winner via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond before I choose a new winner.
This giveaway is open to contestants worldwide.
Thanks for participating in this week's giveaway. Be sure to stop by every Monday for another great giveaway.
Read Nature Manipulated's giveaway disclaimer.