Jack, the dog show, and mariners’ knots

by kathyjohnson on November 19, 2008

A couple weekends back, I took Jackpuppy to his first AKC dog show, in Grand Rapids MI. I went to get Jack some experience at a multiple day show. It happened to be 15 minutes from where my older niece lives, so I combined the dog show with a family visit. It was all good. There was only one other greyhound entered so there were no points available to the winning dog. Odds were good that the other dog wouldn’t even show up, which was what happened. So Jack got Best of Breed three days in a row, and three lovely blue ribbons to go in a box with all the points-free BoB ribbons that Slate won the same way. I decided that I like UKC better–at least you get some points for showing up even if your dog is the only entry in that breed.

Anyway, Jack did me proud. He was a perfect ambassador for the breed all weekend. Waiting is a big part of showing dogs. Quite often there are several hours in between Class (breed) judging and Group (groups of similar breeds–Hounds, Herding dogs, etc.). Group judging is where the best dog of each Group is chosen to go on to compete for Best in Show. Since Jack got Best of Breed, he had the opportunity to go in with the rest of the sighthound Group. I knew Jack didn’t have a snowball’s chance of winning Group, but like I said, we were there for him to get the show experience. So while we waited, we walked around the show hall.

Jack is a world-class leaner. He’ll lean on anyone who stands still near him for two seconds, and gaze up at them with those kohl-rimmed deep brown eyes as if he’s just found his one true soulmate. I lost count of the number of people who wanted to take him home with them because he leaned against their knees and gave them “the look”. I gave each of them my standard spiel about how wonderful greyhounds are and referred them to adopt-a-greyhound.org’s list of adoption groups. If anyone out there gets an application that says “I want a dog just like Jack”, be sure to give them a leaner.

On the Monday after the dog show I went straight from there to St. Joseph MI, to take a jewelry making class with Loren Damewood. I have loved his work with knotted wire ever since I first discovered his site from a link posted to the Orchid Jewelers List. He lives in Florida, so I never thought I’d be able to attend one of his workshops. I was totally thrilled when I heard he was coming to Michigan to teach one workshop. i was even happier when I saw that the schedule fit in with the dog show and was only an hour away from where I’d be staying for the weekend. The only problem was…what to do with Jack during the class?

It was being held in the basement studio of a small art museum. I thought I would either have to drive 3 hours home on Sunday night and 3 hours back to St Joe on Monday morning, or leave Jack in the van for 9 hours on a cold day. When I called to reserve a spot, I explained the situation. The museum director and staff were very kind in allowing me to put Jack in his crate in a corner of the studio for the day. So Jack got to attend the workshop with me, although he didn’t make any jewelry…

But I did! I love to learn new techniques, and this one has so much potential for new designs. Although Loren describes them on his website as “decorative marlingspike seamanship rendered in precious metal”, they’re really 3-d Celtic knots.
I can’t wait to get some things drawn out on paper so I can see what they look like made of wire!

Here’s what I made during the workshop. They’re not perfect, but I understand what I need to do to improve them for the next time. They’ll only get better from here.

A Prolong Knot bracelet made of one 5 foot length of fine .999 silver wire.

And a Turks Head ring made of one 4 foot length of fine .999 silver wire.




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