Netmaking, Lesson 1

Indra’s net, hung over Vedic god Indra’s palace, is a holographic depiction of the Universe, in which each jewel, located at the net’s many intersections, reflects all the other jewels.

Clearly, a difficult net to weave.


So began my Productive Counter-Production project, to make the nonsensical investment in learning to net, inspired by the Vinalhaven netmakers. Being a novice, I set my goals on an achievable ghost net, essentially, a large bait bag made out of glow-in-the-dark rope, designed to entice the haunted inhabitants of the Poor Farm. I collected several types of twine, a netting needle, mesh stick, and Barbara Morton’s Vinalhaven-based instruction manual, A History and How To of Netmaking.

Down East Netting: A History and How to of Netmaking by Barbara Morton

Frustration. Failures. It’s easy to fall out of practice being in zones of non-knowledge. Creating tangled masses of string, reading the same passages over and over, noticing with hopeless wonder the complex nets that repeatedly appeared around me. Productive Counter-Production, an object lesson in observation and a reminder of manual tenacity.

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With Charles’ help, and okay, youtube’s, I finally found the rhythm and was able to net two beginner pieces, the glow in the dark ghost net, and a small blue bait bag. And, inspired by the fancy horse nets of Vinalhaven, and the pure colour play of my string, a handful of tassles.


The morning after returning home, two overly-adventurous young starlings flew into our house through the open upstairs door. They didn’t understand the concept of the glass in the window. Unwilling to keep the door closed in summer, here marks the search for the proper twine to net a curtain to hang from that door.