Knot What You Imagine

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The 20th Leonardo Challenge

Knot What You Imagine

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The Knot

A knot is a simple or elaborate twist and interlacing of fibers. The knot's structure makes the fibers into something new: a tool, a weapon, an ornament, a calculation, a message. Snare a rabbit. Net a fish. Lash a sail. Cinch a saddle. Gird your loins. Plait your hair. These ordinary bindings are nodes of civilization. Or a knot can be personal. Touch your navel. It remembers the knot that first defined you as an individual.

Leonardo's Knots

Consider the two rows of knots that adorne the Mona Lisa's bodice. Are these intricate chains of stitches the reverie of a virtuoso hand at play? Are they a 'brand' for da 'vinci', a rush especially suitable for weaving? Are they a mathematical code? Do they allude to the Islamic motifs that Leonardo encountered in his exchanges with Isantbul? Are they an irrepressible preoccupation of a mind obsessed with structure? Perhaps those tiny knots express all those meanings.

Knots are ubiquitous in Leonardo's notebooks. Some express the engineer's passion for practical simplicity. some express the artist's embrace of ineffable mystery.

The Challenge

The Challenge began 19 years ago quoting Leonardo's advice to costume designers: Skip the labor of embroidery knots; improvise with millet, glue and paint. The 20th Challenge returns to knots as the object of our improvisations. The Challenge is less What knots can you make? than What can you make of knots? Explore the meaning of knots – the knot as a secure solution, the knot as an intractable obstacle. Explore the materials – filaments, fibers, laces, cords and ribbons, living branches, or smoke rings. Explore the culture of knots – as maps, as records, as a paradigm for teaching and learning.

The Benefit

Leonardo da Vinci painted with unrivaled vision, explored science with modern logic and invented with pure imagination. The Leonardo Challenge celebrates one of his inventions: improvisational creativity. One hundred artists, designer and playful spirits will transform a common object – this year, the knot – with wit, whimsy and artistry.

The April 24th benefit will revel in those artist's creativity. Through their generosity and yours, the evening will support workshops and outreach for a new generation learning the ropes of applied imagination.

Thank You

The Leonardo Challenge celebrates elegant twists on a common object. I am glad we've never said simple object. Knots are not simple. But their myriad forms and countless applications are a compelling metaphor to describe this year's 20th Challenge. Intertwine diverse talents, visions, and materials in impossibly intricate steps. Tug deftly here and there. And a final form emerges that makes all the right connections seem beautifully simple. And that was the 20th Leonardo Challenge.

Many hands.
The event works through the generosity of the Artists. 100 this year. Practical generosity – the auction was our most successful to date. And generosity in spirit – their drive and risk taking is the essence we hope our workshops develop.

It's a point of pride that Artists who were once Apprentices here sent art from Connecticut, (of course), but also from New York, Maryland, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and California.

The Challenge
finds its flavor in local hands. Doug Coffins Big Green Truck Pizza and his Artisans perform culinary artistry live.

Jason and Sylvia Sobosinski, Caseus, taught sensible grownups to play with their food (knotting cheese curds.)

Small Kitchen, Big Taste's Karen Lenahan and Sarah Fitzmaurice hand tied platters of Knot Cookies.

Sebastian Rossi brought beer freshly crafted at his Thimble Island Brewery in Branford.

Koffee and Duncan Goodall's new bakery sent delicate dessert bars and robust coffee.

Whole G's Andrea Corazzini, Kiara Matos, and Dowel Raha brought a treasury of breads and bejeweled pyramids of cream puffs.

Brigham Metcalfe, (for nearly the 20th time), helped fill our glasses with wine – this year from The Mountain Group.

The Inspiration
The event works through your enthusiasm.
428 guests (as best we can count) from the first (early birds at 5pm) to the last (die hards till 10pm). Countless others contributed but could not attend. Your commitment to adventures of talent and imagination animates the celebration. It makes it possible for us to pull together the threads of the 20th Challenge. Breathe deeply.

Then begin to think about a 21st. April 23, 2015

Our list of artists has grown each year. Yet there are many who have returned year after year to celebrate with us. To you all, we thank you. Without your generosity, the Leonardo Challenge could not (knot?) exist.

The 100 artists of 2014

Patricia Acorda, Sarah Afragola, Eileen Ahern, Matt Beaudoin, Sue Bennet, David Bennett, Ethel Berger, Ed Bing Lee, Warren Blessing Jr, Alexis Brown, Bill Brown, Martha Burns, Janet Carlin, Hannah Clark, Darren Clark, Susan Clinard, Dana Clough, Brad Collins, Brad Conant, David Cox, Jayne Crowley, Jennifer Davies, Dan Donaldson, Peter Drost, Mike Dunn, Nancy Eisenfeld, Lin Elmo, Thierry Emonet, Eric Epstein, Polly Fiddler, William Fischer, Melissa Fitzmaurice, Joan Fitzsimmons, Ann Fortunato, Julie Fraenkel, Nilda Gagliardi, Patricia Garland, Forrest Gittleson, James Goodridge, Jackie Heitchue, Sally Hill, Tom Hines, Sharon Hirsch, Lisa Hodes, Claire Delari Johnston, Christine Jonientz, Taylor Kane, Betsy Golden Kellem, Mollie Keller, Steve King, Beth Klingher, Martha Lewis, Linda Lindroth, Mary Losee, Lauren Low, Eunice Mahler, Marcus Maronn, Kiara Matos, Janet McClure, Sherie McGregor, David Meyers, David Moulton, Mary C. Murphy, Keith Murray, Tim Newton, Diane Nighswander, Tim Nighswander, Margaret Nimiroski, Ann Oberkirch, Bill O’Connell, Rachel Paupeck, Annalise Phillips, Gritli Rabin, Josh Revkin, Sandra Rhodes, Alice Roche, Sylvie Rosenthal, Jane Rudnick, Mary Susan Sabol, Martha Savage, Joseph Schiffer, Enid Sherry, Martha Ruth Shields, Mark Simon, Randall Siress, Judy Sirota Rosenthal, Anita Soos, Nellie Sorenson , Sarah Sorenson, Tim Spratlin, Alex Tavares, Andrea Truax, Mariel Updegrove, Jennifer Van Elswyk, Dan Velazquez, Holli Presti Whiting, Mary Wolff, Kiran Zaman, Gale Zucker, and the I-95 New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program

Contact Sally Hill by e-mail or by phone at 203-777-1833 for any questions.

Anni Albers signed & numbered silk screen print 28" x 36" matted.
Generously donated by the Albers Foundation.


Anni Albers signed & numbered print.

Anni Albers signed & numbered print.





Patricia Accorda. <i>Bouquet</i>

Patricia Accorda. Bouquet

Sarah Afragola. <i>Knot Safe</i>

Sarah Afragola. Knot Safe

Sarah Afragola. <i>Knot What it Seems</i>

Sarah Afragola. Knot What it Seems

Sarah Afragola. <i>Knot What It Seems, Knot Safe</i>

Sarah Afragola. Knot What It Seems, Knot Safe

Eileen Ahern. <i>How to Make a Rose</i>

Eileen Ahern. How to Make a Rose

Eileen Ahern. <i>I Am Knot in Love</i>

Eileen Ahern. I Am Knot in Love

Eileen Ahern. <i>Rose</i>

Eileen Ahern. Rose

Eileen Ahern. <i>Gesture</i>

Eileen Ahern. Gesture

David & Sue Bennett. <i>Lite Square, Not</i>

David & Sue Bennett. Lite Square, Not

Alton Beaudoin. <i>Lampshade</i>

Alton Beaudoin. Lampshade

Alton Beaudoin. <i>Sennitt Frame</i>

Alton Beaudoin. Sennitt Frame

Alton Beaudoin. <i>Knot Board</i>

Alton Beaudoin. Knot Board

Alton Beaudoin. <i>Sennitt Frame</i>

Alton Beaudoin. Sennitt Frame

Ethel Berger. <i>Cellphone Bag</i>

Ethel Berger. Cellphone Bag

Ethel Berger. <i>Knot a Cellphone Bag</i>

Ethel Berger. Knot a Cellphone Bag

Warren Blessing Jr. <i>It's Knot Love</i>

Warren Blessing Jr. It's Knot Love

Alexis Brown. <i>Knotted Snakes</i>

Alexis Brown. Knotted Snakes

Wm. Brown. <i>Tied to Be Fit</i>

Wm. Brown. Tied to Be Fit

Martha Burns. <i>Sashiko Quilt</i>

Martha Burns. Sashiko Quilt

Janet Carlin. <i>McPhott's Knots</i>

Janet Carlin. McPhott's Knots

Darren Clark. <i>Tie Your Shoes</i>

Darren Clark. Tie Your Shoes

Hannah Clark. <i>Not a Knot</i>

Hannah Clark. Not a Knot

Susan Clinard. <i>.3 Knots</i>

Susan Clinard. .3 Knots

Susan Clinard. <i>Knotted</i>

Susan Clinard. Knotted

Susan Clinard. <i>Untangling the Knot of My Dreams</i>

Susan Clinard. Untangling the Knot of My Dreams

Dana Clough. <i>Knot Quite a Scarf</i>

Dana Clough. Knot Quite a Scarf

Brad Collins. <i>Not, Naught, Knot</i>

Brad Collins. Not, Naught, Knot

Brian Conant. <i>Gordian Knot</i>

Brian Conant. Gordian Knot

Brian Conant. <i>Gordian Knot</i>

Brian Conant. Gordian Knot

David Cox. <i>Knotty By Nature</i>

David Cox. Knotty By Nature

Jane Crowley. <i>Knot Art Knot Functional</i>

Jane Crowley. Knot Art Knot Functional

Jennifer Davies. </i>Knot Hard to Do, Just Time</i>

Jennifer Davies. Knot Hard to Do, Just Time

Jennifer Davies. <i>Knot Tonight Darling</i>

Jennifer Davies. Knot Tonight Darling

Dan Donaldson. <i>Knot a Broom</i>

Dan Donaldson. Knot a Broom

Peter Drost. <i>Flame Box Elderheart</i>

Peter Drost. Flame Box Elderheart

Mike Dunn. <i>Hanging Lamp</i>

Mike Dunn. Hanging Lamp

Nancy Eisenfeld. <i>Jelly Belly</i>

Nancy Eisenfeld. Jelly Belly

Lin Elmo. <i>Knit Knack</i>

Lin Elmo. Knit Knack

Lin Elmo. <i>Endless Knot</i>

Lin Elmo. Endless Knot

Eric Epstein. <i>Knot Impossible</i>

Eric Epstein. Knot Impossible

Billy Fischer. <i>Knots Can Be Bittersweet</i>

Billy Fischer. Knots Can Be Bittersweet

Billy Fischer. <i>May Be Knot</i>

Billy Fischer. May Be Knot

Melissa Fitzmaurice. <i>Knot Monet</i>

Melissa Fitzmaurice. Knot Monet

Melissa Fitzmaurice. <i>Knot O'Keeffe</i>

Melissa Fitzmaurice. Knot O'Keeffe

Melissa Fitzmaurice. <i>Knot Van Gogh</i>

Melissa Fitzmaurice. Knot Van Gogh

Joan Fitzsimmons. <i>Little Construction Knots</i>

Joan Fitzsimmons. Little Construction Knots

Ann Fortunato. <i>Chinese Knot Necklace</i>

Ann Fortunato. Chinese Knot Necklace

Julie Frankel. <i>2 Figures</i>

Julie Frankel. 2 Figures

Nilda Gagliardi. <i>Audubon Would Knot Approve</i>

Nilda Gagliardi. Audubon Would Knot Approve

Patricia Garland. <i>It's Knot Just Anybody's Granddaughter</i>

Patricia Garland. It's Knot Just Anybody's Granddaughter

Forrest Gittleson. <i>Inward Bound</i>

Forrest Gittleson. Inward Bound

Jim Goodridge. <i>Knot For Sale</i>

Jim Goodridge. Knot For Sale

Jackie Heitchue. <i>Slipped Knots</i>

Jackie Heitchue. Slipped Knots

Sally Hill. <i>Knot Tied Inside</i>

Sally Hill. Knot Tied Inside

Sally Hill. <i>Engraving Plate</i>

Sally Hill. Engraving Plate

Tom Hines. <i>Night Knot</i>

Tom Hines. Night Knot

Sharon Hirsch. <i>Knot a Vase</i>

Sharon Hirsch. Knot a Vase

Lisa Hodes. <i>Knot Baad, Knot Yet, Knot Quite</i>

Lisa Hodes. Knot Baad, Knot Yet, Knot Quite

Lisa Hodes. <i>Moknotony</i>

Lisa Hodes. Moknotony

Christina Horton. <i>Knot Too Shabby Chic</i>

Christina Horton. Knot Too Shabby Chic

Delari Johnston. <i>Knaute Couture</i>

Delari Johnston. Knaute Couture

Delari Johnston. <i>Still Knots Endless</i>

Delari Johnston. Still Knots Endless

Delari Johnston. <i>Knot Tired (purple)</i>

Delari Johnston. Knot Tired (purple)

Delari Johnston. <i>Still Knots Round</i>

Delari Johnston. Still Knots Round

Delari Johnston. <i>Knot Tired (green)</i>

Delari Johnston. Knot Tired (green)

Taylor Kane. <i>Rope Bracelet</i>

Taylor Kane. Rope Bracelet

Steve King. <i>Entangled Fade with Companions</i>

Steve King. Entangled Fade with Companions

Betsy Kellem. <i>Ties That Bind</i>

Betsy Kellem. Ties That Bind

Betsy Kellem. <i>Knots Unwinding</i>

Betsy Kellem. Knots Unwinding

Beth Klingher. <i>Celtic Knot Mosaic Tabletop</i>

Beth Klingher. Celtic Knot Mosaic Tabletop

Ed Bing Lee. <i>Meditation</i>

Ed Bing Lee. Meditation

Martha Lewis. <i>Quipu</i>

Martha Lewis. Quipu

Mary Losee. <i>Circular Shawl</i>

Mary Losee. Circular Shawl

Lauren Low. <i>The Scream.</i>

Lauren Low. The Scream.

Eunice Mahler. <i>Lover's Knot</i>

Eunice Mahler. Lover's Knot

Marcus Maronn. <i>Natural Knot</i>

Marcus Maronn. Natural Knot

Kiara Matos. <i>Endless Knot (porcelain)</i>

Kiara Matos. Endless Knot (porcelain)

Kiara Matos. <i>Five Knot Necklace</i>

Kiara Matos. Five Knot Necklace

Kiara Matos. <i>Knot Earrings (Gold)</i>

Kiara Matos. Knot Earrings (Gold)

Kiara Matos. <i>Knot Earrings (White)</i>

Kiara Matos. Knot Earrings (White)

Janet McClure. <i>It's Knot Just Trash (sea glass)</i>

Janet McClure. It's Knot Just Trash (sea glass)

Sherie McGregor. <i>Knot Today, Knot Tomorrow</i>

Sherie McGregor. Knot Today, Knot Tomorrow

Lois Meyers. <i>Do Knot Drop</i>

Lois Meyers. Do Knot Drop

David Moulton. <i>Trefoils</i>

David Moulton. Trefoils

Mary Murphy. <i>French Knots</i>

Mary Murphy. French Knots

Keith Murray. <i>Arachknophobia</i>

Keith Murray. Arachknophobia

Mystic Knotworks. <i>Knotted Mat</i>

Mystic Knotworks. Knotted Mat

Diane Nighswander <i>Forget Me? Not!</i>

Diane Nighswander Forget Me? Not!

Tim Nighswander <i>Knotty Dancers</i>

Tim Nighswander Knotty Dancers

Tim Nighswander <i>Knotty Dancers</i>

Tim Nighswander Knotty Dancers

Tim Nighswander <i>Roped In</i>

Tim Nighswander Roped In

Margaret Nimiroski. <i>Knot So Easy – Homage to Era</i>

Margaret Nimiroski. Knot So Easy – Homage to Era

Anna Oberkirsch. <i>New England Paradise</i>

Anna Oberkirsch. New England Paradise

Bill O'Connell. <i>Knots Landing</i>

Bill O'Connell. Knots Landing

Annalise Phillips. <i>Knot from the Sea</i>

Annalise Phillips. Knot from the Sea

Annalise Phillips, DJ Johnson. <i>Knot, A Children's Book</i>

Annalise Phillips, DJ Johnson. Knot, A Children's Book

Annalise Phillips, DJ Johnson. <i>Knot, A Children's Book</i>

Annalise Phillips, DJ Johnson. Knot, A Children's Book

Gritli Rabin. <i>Knots on the...</i>

Gritli Rabin. Knots on the...

Alice Roche. <i>Gold/Diamond Ring</i>

Alice Roche. Gold/Diamond Ring

Sandy Rhodes. <i>Primary Knots</i>

Sandy Rhodes. Primary Knots

Sylvie Rosenthal, <i>hands</i>. Judy Sirota Rosenthal, <i>Caligraphy</i>

Sylvie Rosenthal, hands. Judy Sirota Rosenthal, Caligraphy

Sylvie Rosenthal, <i>hands</i>. Judy Sirota Rosenthal, <i>Caligraphy</i>

Sylvie Rosenthal, hands. Judy Sirota Rosenthal, Caligraphy

Judy Sirota Rosenthal. <i>Sparkling Web</i>

Judy Sirota Rosenthal. Sparkling Web

Sylvie Rosenthal. <i>Colgate Stable III</i>

Sylvie Rosenthal. Colgate Stable III

Mary Roussel. <i>Knotted</i>

Mary Roussel. Knotted

Jane Rudnick. <i>It's Knot the Jumping Jack You're Looking For</i>

Jane Rudnick. It's Knot the Jumping Jack You're Looking For

Jane Rudnick. <i>It's Knot What You Urn That Counts</i>

Jane Rudnick. It's Knot What You Urn That Counts

Mary Sabol. <i>Leonardo's Top Knot</i>

Mary Sabol. Leonardo's Top Knot

Martha Savage. <i>Time Card Box of Knots</i>

Martha Savage. Time Card Box of Knots

Joseph Schiffer. <i>The Knot</i>

Joseph Schiffer. The Knot

Enid Sherry. <i>Year of the Horse</i>

Enid Sherry. Year of the Horse

Mark Simon. <i>Leonardo's Shadow</i>

Mark Simon. Leonardo's Shadow

Randy Siress. <i>Argo Knot</i>

Randy Siress. Argo Knot

Anita Soos. <i>Blood Ecclipse</i>

Anita Soos. Blood Ecclipse

Nellie Sorenson. <i>Knotty Thoughts</i>

Nellie Sorenson. Knotty Thoughts

Sarah Sorenson. <i>Knotted Necklace.</i>

Sarah Sorenson. Knotted Necklace.

Tim Spratlin. <i>Chair</i>

Tim Spratlin. Chair

Alex Tavarez. <i>Big Metal Knot</i>

Alex Tavarez. Big Metal Knot

Andrea Truax. <i>Vest and Shirt</i>

Andrea Truax. Vest and Shirt

Jennifer Van Elswyk. <i>Knot Corps De Dame</i>

Jennifer Van Elswyk. Knot Corps De Dame

Dan Velazquez & Josh Revkin <i>Endless Knot Table</i>

Dan Velazquez & Josh Revkin Endless Knot Table

Mariel Updegrove. <i>Corn Rows</i>

Mariel Updegrove. Corn Rows

Holly Whiting. <i>Fiber is Knot</i>

Holly Whiting. Fiber is Knot

Mary Wolff. <i>Talking Knots</i>

Mary Wolff. Talking Knots

Kiran Zaman. <i>To Tree or Knot to Tree</i>

Kiran Zaman. To Tree or Knot to Tree

Gale Zucker. <i>Into the Juice</i>

Gale Zucker. Into the Juice

I95 Corridor Improvement Program. <i>Knitting the I95 Knot</i>

I95 Corridor Improvement Program. Knitting the I95 Knot





Billy Fischer & Mickey

Billy Fischer & Mickey



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