To be honest, I never was a big fan of macrame. I always encountered it as random wall hangings in the hippie homes of my youth, and it seemed kind of pointless. However, during the pandemic, there was an explosion of people re-discovering macrame and posting incredible pieces, and it has definitely inspired me. Let’s take a look!
What is Macrame?
Macrame is a form of textile art where you tie knots in rope or cords to form ornamental patterns and structures. It’s something like braiding, and something like knitting. Like knitting or crochet, it has established types of knots that produce specific effects.
Macrame is an ancient craft, popularized by Arab people who would knot the excess threads on the fringes of woven fabrics into decorative patterns. The Ottomans spread the craft throughout Europe, and it became a popular activity during the Victorian era. It was also practiced extensively by sailors, who have a special interest in various types of knots. In the 1970s, it became fashionable again during the hippie/bohemian movement, and people knotted wall hangings, jewelry, plant hangers, etc.
In recent years, it has once again become popular, as millennials revive old handcrafts, and people took up new hobbies during the pandemic. Suddenly macrame is everywhere.
What Can You Make With Macrame?
Macrame is surprisingly versatile, and isn’t just wall hangings. Here are just some of the things you can make with macrame:
- Friendship bracelets. Again, hearkening back to my childhood, it seems like most teen girls went through a phase of making macrame friendship bracelets. Funnily enough, it was just recently that Erika and I were talking about taking up this habit again, as a safe and easy thing to do with your hands while your mind is occupied elsewhere.
- Hanging planters. The great thing about macrame plant hangers is that they can be easily customized to the size of pots you have, the height of your ceiling, and your color and style preference. These pot cradles can be simple or spectacular, and are incredibly easy to make.
- Hanging shelving and storage. The options for macrame shelves and wall storage are virtually endless. By using small boards and knotting them in place, you can put customized shelves anywhere you want them.
- Art. A huge range of textile artists use macrame in their work. Agnes Hansella makes gorgeous wall hangings:
but is most famous for her monumental macrame installations:
Macrame has everything I appreciate in a craft: it’s simple and affordable, versatile and expressive, and can be used to make items that are useful and practical as well as beautiful. I look forward to exploring this technique in the future.