The Great Journey of a Lifetime

A strong, ten-decades long StoryRope · 2015

John Shipman, The Great Journey of a Lifetime, 2015Follow a ten-decade, 100-metre long StoryRope into a listed heritage church, across the entrance lobby, through the main sanctuary and back to the entrance area.

Tagged with the thoughts and worries of famous as well as more obscure people ages 1 to 100 years old and dozens of small bells, the StoryRope's ten knots mark the decades of our lives.

I've always been a rebel. I refuse to give up. • Patricia Goss, 95

Slow down. Read what others have said. Add your thoughts to the 100-year StoryWall. Construct your own pocket-sized StoryRope.

aaah ooouah eeeaaaah yaaaaaah… • Gabriel Aurél Rose Sarkozy, 8 months

The Great Journey of a Lifetime: Hold onto the Rope — John Shipman's ninth independent Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto project — was presented at St. Matthew's United Church, 729 St-Clair Avenue West from sunset to sunrise on 3–4 October 2015, by the Department of Household Science & Advanced Proverbs which uses the methods of the kitchen, workshop and laneway play to nourish understanding through touching, hearing, tasting, seeing and making.

An invitation to recall and reflect

Long and strong, The Great Journey of a Lifetime's StoryRope led forwards and backwards to things to see, hear, touch, taste and do:

  • Making a ten-knot, pocket-sized StoryRope.
  • Braiding a vertical rope reach the ceiling 30 feet overhead.
  • Knotting a friendship bracelet or try finger knitting and french knitting.
  • Braiding a colourful wig, have your own hair braided or braid someone's hair.
  • Tying very large knots in very large ropes: «The bigger the rope, the harder the knot.»
  • Adding one's thoughts to the Great Journey StoryWall.
  • Munching on twisted Tom Sturgis pretzels from Reading, Pennsylvania.

Slideshow · photos from The Great Journey of a Lifetime
Thoughts, past and present, from the StoryRope or posted by visitors on the StoryWall


Watch this short clip or this short video by Michael Cook (in Japanese) on kumihimo braiding techniques. Other photos showing John's braiding process and setup are posted here.

For more information about The Great Journey of a Lifetime, please contact John.

Photos · Marcelle St-Amant