The New Macrame movement - Where it's been and where it is today.
If you’re a child or a woman of the 70’s, macrame might be familiar to you with endless plant hangers, the ever famous owl or even tables hanging from the ceiling. A representation of the hippies and hippies at heart. But did you know that it’s origins come years before the 70’s.
Macrame is believed to have originated with 13th century Arab weavers. These artisans knotted the excess thread and yarn along the edges of hand-loomed fabrics into decorative fringes on bath towels. (Another popular home decor making it’s way into the not only the bohemian homes of today). You’d see this fringe or tassels on shawls and veils of the time. The word macrame is Spanish and is derived from the Arabic word migramah, believed to mean ‘striped towel’ or ‘ornamental fringe’. It’s all said the macrame comes from the Turkish word makrama, referring to napkins and towels using a knotting pattern in similar style or fashion.
The art was soon taken to Spain, Italy and throughout the rest of Europe where it was introduced into England in the late 17th century during Queen Mary’s rein. She taught her ladies in waiting how to macrame and again 200 years later during the Queen Victoria era, the art form was again popular.
I find most fascinating is that macrame was also popular among men. Sailors to be exact. They were masters at knots to secure sails and using rope they use this knot tying to pass the time during the months at a time they spent at sea. They would create decorative patterns and other useful uses. They they would arrive at ports they would sell or barter their creations spreading macrame even further to countries and “The New World”.
While there was place for macrame throughout history, it faded in the early 1900 and wasn’t until 1970’s that it not only gained popularity, it was all the rage. While maybe everyone didn’t macrame, it might be safe to say a majority of women was introduced the craft in some fashion. It was during a time with a feminist movement was taking place. The women were walking away from traditional expectations and seeking empowerment and both financial and sexual freedoms. To me it comes as no surprise that this “macrame movement’ is taking place again today as women are again standing strong, pushing the envelope and standing up for equality freedom to pursue their dreams. To me macrame represents this spirit and modern bohemian.
Today macrame is finding it’s place in popular decor and can be found in some of your favorite home furnishing stores like Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, Pottery Barn and even Anthropologie and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Photography credit: https://teresaschmidtphotography.com/