Knots and Boxes

Studio L recently published Knots and Boxes, a book documenting the work and stories of thirteen visitors to Leslie Laskey’s studio and home in Manistee, Michigan, during the summer of 2013. Photographs, work samples, and stories were gathered from each student and edited by Richard Rothman into a graphic narrative of one summer’s worth of work in a wide array of media. Prints, woodcuts, collages, paintings, drawings, and three-dimensional constructions based on knots at all scales: from thread to neckties, from tree branches to human bodies.

The book is available for purchase from

Excerpts from the book:

The exercise was a metaphor for Leslie’s perennial effort to get me out of my perennial Familiar Zone. As a result I saw the nature of the task differently and, as I snipped and pasted, I worked toward a precarious balance between the informative and the formal.

Tighter and tighter threads pull
against themselves
we pull against ourselves
toward each other and away
becoming an inseparable

And I love the lifting-up of that first print. The surprise of it… first when I see the image backwards it’s a stranger to me. After all that intimacy, it’s the exact opposite of your plan and thinking. I guess a true artist gets used to this but I never have.

The (We) know knot how-to: Square or Reef;
The folding book-print thought;
Wood grain and shape of this and that particular board;
Pulling perfect prints in the breeze;
These little folded boxes.