Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Satisfying Pattern is a Satisfying Pattern, Whatever the Medium

          I mentioned fiction's most famous knitter, Mme Defarge, in my last post. I myself knit, although not with homicidal intent, and sometimes that pastime influences how I see things.
          In this case, I was photographing pretty bits of rubble in Rome's Forum this summer, and I was entranced by the carvings on this stone:

          Not only because they're pretty, but also because they remind me both of a cable knitting pattern and the classic pattern set-up on an Aran sweater: larger interlacing pattern flanked on either side by a smaller, simpler pattern. Like this cable pattern, from Barbara G. Walker's ageless A Treasury of Knitting Patterns:

          You can see that the central knitted motif resembles the central carved motif.
           To see this kind of similarity separated by both centuries and media is to recognize how deeply satisfying this kind of pattern set-up is to humans. And it says, once again, that no matter how much we ignore it and under-fund it and find the stock market or fantasy football more important, art matters to us, just as it always has.

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