The monkey's fist knot is a sailor's classic, tied around a stone and used to add weight to rope and, on occasion, as a weapon. Its form has an enchanting complexity and symmetry. Which perhaps explains why I succumbed to a looped green-and-white monkey's fist not so long ago at, of all places, a pet supermarket. Though billed as "doggie dental floss"—during games of tug of war, your canine's teeth are miraculously cleaned—my beloved mutt wouldn't even sniff at it. I didn't care. Dog toy or not, I like the way it hangs fetchingly on a doorknob.
Recently at Haus Interior, I came across artist Cassandra Smith's artful take on the form and felt vindicated. "They have a crafty, vintage feel yet are very precisely made," she said by way of explaining the appeal. I'm now ready to upgrade to a wall of her color-blocked twists.
Above: A sampling of Cassandra Smith's hand-painted knots, size large; $58 each. Based in Milwaukee, WI, Smith specializes in decorating unexpected objects, such as mounted deer heads, and is best known for her painted antlers, which, to her dismay, have been widely knocked off.
Above: Smith's knots come in sizes ranging from extra small (7 inches in circumference) to large (12.5 inches in circumference) and are priced at approximately $38 to $58.
Above: Smith reports that most people hang the knots or perch them on shelves; they also make good curtain tiebacks. The loops vary in length from 6 inches to 20 inches.
Above: Smith's newest knots are patterned with tiny dots. Each knot has a wooden ball in its center.
Above: The display at Haus Interior. Smith's next project is creating monkey-fist garlands, and, by popular demand, she plans to make painted monkey-fist necklaces.