Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Resurrecting Macrame-nia is a Great Idea! Knot.

             When it comes to fashion and décor, I enjoy revisiting bygone eras, taking pleasure in the nostalgia they elicit. But I do have my limits. There are those decades I’d just as soon exclude from any revival movement. Ever.  Among them, the 1970s.
             The fact I’m not a current fan of the ‘70s decade doesn’t mean I eschewed all of its trends when I lived through them. On the contrary, I enthusiastically embraced “feathered” hair a la Farrah,  bell-bottomed pants, peasant blouses, wooden platformed shoes. I even bought my husband a leisure suit (which, thank goodness, he had the good sense to despise and wore only twice). As I was writing this post, I caught myself humming "The Age of Aquarius" (which actually came out in 1969, but close enough). To decorate my first home, I took inspiration from the apartment of Chrissy, Jack, and Janet of Three’s Company fame. And I was enamored of macramé.

A couple of examples of
the macrame art that
decorated my 1970s home
With walls and ceilings
amply adorned, we could move
on to apparel.
(For the record, my aunt made these
pieces. I stuck mainly with three-prong
pot hangers.)
       I’m not sure what it was about tying knots that had the country ensnarled in that craze, but you can count me as a victim of ‘70s macrame-nia. I think part of my zeal was inspired by an aunt who was truly a person created to create. Her hands were constantly busy—crocheting, knitting, sewing, weaving, even spinning. And she was a consummate teacher, loving nothing better than sharing her skills with anyone who wanted to learn them. In the ‘70s, she found willing and eager  students among family and friends for her macramé classes. In knot-tying frenzies, we  fashioned hangers for anything from pots to pendant lights. Products of our new-found skill were suspended from every square foot above our heads. At one point, my dad flatly refused to hang any more of my mother’s “art” for fear the ceiling would collapse. With the space above us either off-limits or filled, we moved on to wall hangings, window and door coverings, purses, belts, jewelry, vests, hats...even bikinis. (I actually never had a macrame bikini, so don't ask me how that worked.) The options were endless, running out of rope being the  only deterrent to our productivity.
            With the comeback capability of a boomerang, macramé has enjoyed a long and interesting history  of wafting in and out of popularity. Originating in the 13th century with Arab weavers, the skill worked its way across Europe. In the 17th century, Queen Mary taught it to her ladies-in-waiting. Sailors brought it to the New World, where, in the 1970s, hippies and housewives practically made a cottage industry out of it. Macramé fell out of favor for a couple of decades, but the other day on the Houzz website, an article suggested it might be staging yet another appearance. A quick search revealed dozens of Pinterest boards dedicated to it. Of course, for the sake of marketing, this most recent phase will involve innovative twists such as...fewer owls.
            As far as I’m concerned, even a dearth of owls can’t be innovative enough to make resurrecting macrame-nia a good idea. It roped me in once, but as with many trends and fads, once is enough.

            Any thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from those of you who, like me, were entangled in the ‘70s macramé web.


  1. I loved macrame in the day, although I don't remember ever creating any of my own pieces. At some point I got rid of my remaining plant hangers when I realized they can't be cleaned - or kept clean - easily. That would go triple for apparel! I'm with you; re-trending has no appeal for me.

  2. I remember this era all too well (the '70s, not the 13th or 17th centuries). At the time I was bummed that I never learned the art of rope and glass balls. Of course, my new slant is I never succumbed to that silly phase!(Uhh, does 'bummed' sound too 70s?)

  3. I'm sure we had more than one piece of macrame in our home, but I only remember the owl and a plant hanger. I think my dad made them. During that same era, his buddy crocheted beer can hats for Christmas gifts.Now, that's artistic.

    1. Crocheted beer can hats!!! Love it. Even better than crocheted toilet paper holders. Is there no limit to mankind's creativity?!!!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.