Knitting: poetic and a little political

A story of transmission of traditions and bond between a granddaughter and her grandmother in the form of a comic book intended for people aged … 6 to 106 years! This is what the illustrator and author Jacques Goldstyn offers with his poetics Knitting.

Outside the cafe where we met, we take refuge under the mini wall because the rain surprises us. Sitting on the floor like a child, Jacques Goldstyn takes out his sketchbooks from his backpack and lets me leaf through them gently. These notepads filled with “spontaneous drawings” follow him wherever he goes, on a trip to the end of the world as in the streets of his city, Montreal.

Few people know that Jacques Goldstyn, the illustrator of children’s books and magazines, is also Boris, the political cartoonist. And that his diverse personalities intersect in his works: in the form of political details in his children’s books and childish winks in his political cartoons.

Born in Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean to a great traveler father and a hyperactive mother who taught sewing, the 62-year-old illustrator has won various awards in his career, including the prestigious Michael-Smith award in 2001, for his contribution to the popularization of science in Canada. Because it is as an illustrator for the experience book The little resourceful (whose success spawned the magazine) that the trained geologist first became known.

“I think I was just expecting that,” says the one who, during his studies at Polytechnique, drew in the university newspaper. I quit my job as a geologist and became an illustrator. I was so happy to draw, I think I would have done restaurant menus so much I liked it. ”

“The last scarf my mother made, I will never throw it away, it’s too precious,” says the illustrator, who sees the act of knitting a garment for someone as an act of love and a wonderful transmission of knowledge. a.

It was during a discussion with his knitter, graphic designer friend Barbara Lapointe, that the spark of the comic book sparked Knitting. A work recounting in images the bond between a grandmother and her granddaughter, the long scarf that unraveled, the grandmother who tells about herself, from her childhood to her love for knitting.

To do this, he drew inspiration from his own mother and his aunts who knit – and knit – still a lot. As well as the memory of a story of her mother who, very young in Brittany, kept the cows. “One day my grandmother arrived with sweaters and scarves to unravel. Because we recovered everything at the time, especially in the countryside. She then taught him to knit. “

Winks for adults

Unable to put aside the politics he loves, he had fun slipping adult winks into his illustrations. Here, a strike featuring Michel Chartrand, there, a battle scene from the Middle Ages inspired by the Bayeux tapestry with an uncle Guillaume inspired by William the Conqueror. Up to the main characters, baptized Léa and Madeleine, because they were inspired by Quebec feminists Léa Roback and Madeleine Parent.

In this story tribute to craftsmanship, between different scenes taking place in Montreal (like so many nods to her beloved city), we will also understand that the grandmother would have liked to exercise a profession like that of her husband-head. train … an impossible thing for the women of her time. “I make myself happy doing this,” he admits. Those kinds of books, I couldn’t have done at 25. There I know what I want, what I like about stories and this is what I want to do. I am very lucky. “

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