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  • Maiwa Loft #6-1666 Johnston St. Vancouver, BC, V6H 3S2 Canada (map)

With Tim Whitten

$395 [Includes $100 lab fee] Class Limit 16. Oct 18-20 (Wed-Fri) 10am-4pm

A marlinespike is a simple tool used by sailmakers, riggers, mariners, and fishermen. (The marlin fish is named after this tool.) Marlinespike ropework is a traditional skill with a longand colourful history. The basic principles of marlinespike work are common to hand-weaving, braiding, embroidery, stitchery, knitting, basketmaking, and many other fibre arts. What sets marlinespike work apart is the material and scale.

There are a handful of items traditionally made to display marlinespike skills. These include the sailor’s ditty bag, sea chest handles (“beckets”), and bell lanyards. Pieces may be simple or elaborate but are usually fancy samplers. This three-day class will introduce students to this traditional craft through the construction of a continuous cord bell rope and a covered core bell rope. Some time will be given to basic knots and splices, but the majority of effort will be centred on marlinespike techniques.

Tim will also give a lecture.

Supply List PDF

Tim Whitten is a Connecticut native with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He is a self-taught master of traditional ropework known collectively as "marlinespike." In a 2016 interview with David Roza, Tim explained, “Marlinespike work is really a combination of techniques like knitting, embroidery, tapestry-weaving, and kumihimo (an intricate form of Japanese braiding) that sailors and fishermen borrowed with a nautical focus.” Tim is frequently asked about an arts eduction. "I’ll explain that I didn’t go to art school, I studied engineering...but to be a successful engineer, you have to have an artistic mind so that you can think of problems to solve and creative solutions to solve them.”

Tim runs the Marlinespike Chandlery located in Stonington, Maine, a combination studio workshop, antique store, and museum centred around traditional, nautically inspired rope and fibre work.