The public can explore the work of master knot tyer, maritime artist, historian and author Clifford W. Ashley in an exhibition opening at the New Bedford Whaling Museum Friday, July 7, from 6 to 8 PM.

“Thou Shalt Knot: Clifford W. Ashley” will premiere a recent gift of Ashley’s private knot collection enhanced by interpretative material from the museum’s permanent collection, as well as the artist’s paintings, prints, and works by other knot tyers and artists. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged by going to www.whalingmuseum.org or calling 508-997-0046. The exhibition is sponsored by the family of Clifford W. Ashley and made possible, in part, by support from the International Guild of Knot Tyers, the Boston Marine Society, Margaret Baker Howland and Mary Howland Smoyer.

Knots are ubiquitous, sculptural and mathematically elegant. They are both ancient and modern, and are the subject of cutting-edge research and ongoing practice in the fields of mathematics, physics, life sciences, materials engineering, and art, not to mention within a wide range of industries and recreational pastimes. “Thou Shalt Knot” takes on many of these themes.

The exhibition includes many of the knots Mr.Ashley used as models for his encyclopedic magnum opus, "The Ashley Book of Knots," which has been in continuous print since 1944.

Complementing the Ashley collection in the exhibition is a broad range of objects. A full-color, 83-page catalog accompanies the exhibition.

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