If you have spent any amount of time on Instagram lately, you’ve probably noticed this trend: macramé is back and it is hot. This isn’t your grandma’s macramé. The new-to-many art of weaving has returned with a cleaner, more natural look. The brightly colored wall hangings have been replaced with sleek macramé planters, modern wall decor, and stylish jewelry. Here’s a quick look at macramé history and evolution of the art of macramé.
Brief Macrame History
While many of us will think of the 70s when we hear the term macramé, the craft actually dates back to several centuries ago. One of the earliest recorded uses of macramé style knots as decoration is in the carvings of the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians. It is believed that the craft originated with 13th-century Arab weavers. They used the term migramah, meaning “fringe”, to describe the decorative fringes on the weaves. The technique traveled to Spain with the Moorish conquest, and the word migramah evolved into macramé. From Spain, the art of macramé spread to Italy and eventually the rest of Europe.
When macramé arrived in England it became extremely popular. The Victorian era was one of the heights of this craft trend. Most Victorian homes were adorned with some kind of macramé tablecloth, bedspread, or curtains. The art was not limited to women, as sailors made macramé objects to pass time at sea. They would sell or barter these items when they hit land, spreading the craft to far away places like China.
The style faded away but was once again in the spotlight during the 1970s. Macramé become a common way to create wall hangings, clothing, plant hangers, and other items. Macramé jewelry became popular with crafters of all ages. Clothing, necklaces, anklets, and bracelets with natural elements like shells worked into the weaving were all the rage. By the 1980s, however, macramé had once again faded as a popular craft.
Evolution of the Craft
Many of the original migramah style weavings had very practical applications. For example, textiles were woven to create a decorative cover for camels. The fringes on the piece would help scare flies away from the camel and its occupants. The use of macramé was largely utilitarian but also decorative.
In the Victorian era, macramé was popularly used to create large decorative home items such as bedding and curtains. This auction from Worthpoint is an excellent example of how macramé was used at the time. These curtain panels from the late 1800s feature a macramé covering. The style of weaving was a way for homeowners to create unique home items themselves.
In the 1970s, macramé became something that one could wear. The craft was also used to create home decor like wall hangings, but the art form became a way that people could express their individual styles. Vests were a popular item to make in a variety of lengths and colors. Macramé was a medium crafters could use to express their unique style with handmade clothing and decor.
Today, macramé is a bit more subtle than in the past. Natural and recycled materials in earth tones are often used. The emphasis is on nature, simplicity, and design. A blank wall is perked up with a fringed macramé wall hanging. Nature is brought inside by placing live plants inside beautiful macramé hangers. The bold macramé clothing choices from the 1970s have been replaced by more subtle pieces of macrame jewelry. What’s old is new again, but this time with a more refined, natural look.
How it’s Making a Comeback
Many artisans credit the social media giant Instagram with the return of macramé. Interior designers began using simple macramé hangings on the wall to stage their photos, and fans took notice. Interest in the craft took off and has shown no signs of slowing down.
Craft kits are available in a variety of sizes and styles to help people learn macramé. Whether you are a novice or a pro, kits are a quick an easy to way to get all your supplies in one shot and start weaving. For example, the Pepperell Crafts Macrame Owl Kit comes with everything you need to make this elegant home decor item. The kit includes 32 yards of natural color macramé cord, 3 beads, 2 bamboo dowels, and easy to follow instructions. Darice offers a variety of macramé kits and supplies to help you get started with this hot crafting trend.
Classes, both online and in person, have also helped macramé make a comeback. Lia Griffith offers online instructions for how to make beautiful macramé jewelry. Be sure to check with your local craft store, community center, and library to find out about other opportunities to learn how to macramé.
If you cannot find the time to craft but really want to have a piece of macrame decor in your home, there are many skilled artists eager to help. Etsy is one place where you can support makers and their craft. The marketplace is packed with beautiful handmade macramé items, ranging from home decor to jewelry and everything in between.
Have you ever done macramé before? Or are you eager to learn something new? Now is your chance to start making macramé!
You may also like -
Morena from MorenasCorner.com is the kind of girl who would rather have paint on her fingers than get a manicure. Morena’s passion is using thrifted and inexpensive finds to craft designer inspired creations, and she enjoys creating colorful, bold pieces of home decor. The Italian-American daughter of two DIYers, she and her husband strive to pass the tradition and value of handmade to their four children.