2022 Newsfeed

An afternoon of macramé with Annette Boyd

Close up of some knots in the macrame pot hanger

As I sit to write about my experience of making a macramé pot hanger, I find myself struggling to remember many details of the session. Not because the session was boring or not memorable. In fact, it was the opposite.

The session was so relaxing and meditative that I found myself drifting away and daydreaming as I became mesmerised by the flow of tying knots and creating something with my very own hands.

The macramé session was held at King’s Junction, a café and gift store in the heart of Bungendore Village only thirty minutes outside of Canberra.

Along with great service, a fabulous menu, and a variety of giftware, indoor plants, artwork and home décor, King’s Junction also offers various classes and workshops for all ages and abilities in painting, knitting, pottery, cooking, gardening, and yes, macramé.

Under the watchful, and very patient, eye of macramé teacher @AnnetteBoydArtandDesign I was transported back to my primary school days in the 80s, remembering when I last made a macramé pot hanger for Mother’s Day.

Close up of the hands of teacher, Annette Boyd, showing the class how to tie the knots.

With the clink of crockery in the background and the delicious smell of roasting coffee wafting up from the café area, the atmosphere was rustic and homely as I wrapped the course rope around itself and pulled it back though the loop, watching my pot hanger take shape.

The best guess as to the origin of macramé is Arabia in the 13th century, and the popularity of macramé as a textile art is most likely attributable to those 13th century artisans and one other group of people that may surprise you…sailors!

Sailors in medieval times, the original macramé hobbyists, were already skilled knot-tiers by trade, and they needed to find ways to keep from going crazy with boredom at sea. Macramé became their pastime.

Over the years, sailors invented newer and more complex knots, and after their work entered the marketplaces at different ports across the world, the trend took hold.

America in the 70s however, is the time period that most people think of when they hear the word ‘macramé’. The massive hippie movement, as it carried into the seventies, created the perfect storm for a macramé popularity explosion!

Macramé fit in with the counter-cultural aesthetic because it represented a rejection of mass-produced, unethical manufacturing. Macramé’s homemade, earthy vibes were a perfect fit for anyone who wanted to go against the cultural and political grain of the decade.

So, naturally, when people went to decorate their home, or shop for something new to wear, they went with items that didn’t represent any of that. Macramé was an obvious, stylish, and effortlessly chic choice for many people!

The Spanish word macramé is derived from the Arabic migramah (مقرمة), it is believed to mean ‘striped towel’, ‘ornamental fringe’ or ’embroidered veil’.

Fast-forward to today, and macramé is experiencing something of a renaissance. It’s trendy with all sorts of people, and doesn’t show any signs of stopping!

At the end of a very relaxing session we stood back and admired our handy-work, feeling very pleased with our efforts and happy to take home the finished product which included the pot and plant too.

We walked away with our macramé masterpieces in our hands, and that sense of pride that only comes with creating something functional, but beautiful, a one-of-a-kind, with your own hands.

Macramé is for everyone. It is simple and easy to learn even for the least creative person. Our session was a reminder to myself to take the time to regularly step back from the busyness of life and give the mind a rest from always being switched on.

The primary school girl in me poked her little head out for a moment and I wondered if my mum would like another macramé pot hanger for Mother’s Day this year.

Photos by Sarah Cathie