Macramé – simply the act of knotting string creatively is an ancient art form, dating back to the Assyrians and Babylonians. Knotted fringe like decorations on headdresses and clothing are depicted on stone carvings from this period. Various forms of knotwork also came from North Africa, with dangling knotted fringes often being used as decorations that also helped to keep flies out of the eyes of horses and camels.
The Perfectly Proper Pastime
More recent incarnations of Macramé-like art can be found in the Victorian Era when any form of over-the-top frilly decoration was adored. The added bonus of Macramé could have been that much like painting watercolours, this was a sedentary, civilized and ladylike pursuit – what could be more genteel than sitting in a parlour, demurely knotting strings and minding your own business?
Add to this the lavish and ornate styles at the height of fashion in the 1800s and Macramé seems like the perfect pastime for a Victorian lady. Knot it in the morning, wear it in the afternoon!
(K)Not your Average Artworks
Macramé, due to its inherent DIY nature, has been widely used for many functional and decorative purposes over the years. Recently, with a shift back to natural fibres and textiles, as well as the current trend toward “Cottagecore” as a design vision, the art of knotting has once again found vogue. After falling in and out of fashion for the past 40 years, Macramé has now been happily adopted by the crafty, DIY loving millennials.
A Piece of String
The magical part of Macramé is its simplicity. You really don’t need that much. No glue, no paint, no real hardware. String, twine or rope, maybe a dowel or wooden stick (but a long-handled wooden spoon can also work fine), your own hands, and your own creativity. It really is that simple. Ad a wooden ring or some chunky beads and you’ve got art!
Any Rope Will do
According to modernmacrame.com the best type of rope is between 4mm and 7mm thick. This rope size will be versatile and can be used for anything from plant hangers to trivets, placemats, rugs and wall hangings. Pick a twisted, three-ply cotton rope (plastic or synthetic won’t work as well and doesn’t really fit the natural aesthetic) Many South African hardware stores have various affordable options available. On average ranging in price between R150 and R42 for up to 30m of cotton twine, so it’s really up to you to decide how much you want to spend on your project.
There are also so many different projects to choose from. Macramé can be purely decorative (like the 70’s wall hangings your hippy friend’s mom had in her house) to extremely useful items like trivets to place hot pots and pans on, hanging baskets for pot plants, placemats and even full-sized rugs and doormats.
Commitment Free De-Stressing
Much like the knitting craze of the early 2000s and the adult colouring book hype of the 2010s, Macramé is this generation’s answer to mindless, harmless (cheap) at-home stress-busting. It’s something you can do with your hands; mistakes are not permanent (simply untie the wrong knots), and if you don’t like your creation, you can even untie everything and recycle the rope. Zero commitment!
Netflix and Macramé
Best of all – you don’t do macramé with your phone. Therefore, it’s a healthy alternative to the hours spent scrolling through social media while watching Tiger King with half an eye and not really focussing on anything.
Kid-Friendly, Mess-Free Fun
Because macramé is a mess-free, glue-free, paint-free artform, and infinitely scalable according to age and artistic ability (even a couple of basic knots can be a keychain for granny) it’s the perfect family project for the upcoming holidays. Find some inspiration on Pinterest or even in home and décor magazines and start knotting!
For free and easy macramé patterns follow the link and start your creative journey!