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The Vision

Body MacroI am a flytier.  That means that I use thread to attach fur, feathers, silks, and metals to hooks in an attempt to make them look like something a fish would eat.  While these creations are generically called flies, they may be made to imitate anything a fish would eat:  Insects, crustaceans, amphibians, etc.  Abstract artistic flies such as the ones I tie are meant to look like small baitfish, but no fish ever seen in nature.  The graceful, sweeping lines of the fish are usually all that remain recognizable in these artistic flies, as the tier endeavors to bring something altogether new and visually interesting to life.  Originally, the novelty of these flies was intended to pique the interest of large salmon, so the flies are often referred to as salmon flies, but during the Victorian Era they began to be tied to pique the interest of people and become collectible as pieces of art.

I usually attempt to capture a theme in my artistic flies; in this one, the challenge was to capture the whimsical essence of the fairy tale.  The Rumpelstiltskin story interests me on many levels: As a chemist (my formal avocation), because of the age-old quest of alchemy and the many tales it spawned.  As a goldsmith and craftsman, because I’d never spun anything out of gold before.  And as a flyfisherman, because any story of greed and deception reminds me of my goal every time I fish – to fool a predator into becoming prey. 

When I first envisioned this fly, I was focused on the transition from straw to gold.  I saw dozens of strands of straw magically transitioning into strands of gold.  Then I began seeing the materials twisting and weaving together.  The vision began to take shape:  I would disguise a hook in such a deceptive swirling web of gold and straw that fish or human would have to exercise extreme prudence to avoid being lured in by its beauty to its dangerous point.


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