Macramé has become one of the biggest trends in the world in the last few years. There’s good reason for that, too- macramé is easy to make, and it’s a laid-back, natural art form. It makes your home décor feel relaxed, stylish, and fun and can add real texture to walls.
So, where did macramé come from, and who exactly is responsible for this awesome fiber art form? Check out our brief history of Macrame, and see some cool examples of how it’s changed through time!
What is Macramé?
Macramé is a popular homemade fiber art that involves tying knots with cotton cord. The knots vary in complexity, and there are hundreds of different items you can make using macramé techniques. Some of the most popular home decor items are decorative wall hangings, plant hangers, and chairs/swings.
These days, Macramé is big with the DIY/crafty crowd because it’s extremely easy to get started. There are many ways to learn it, and the costs of making it are pretty low compared to other crafts.
Typically, people who admire the boho chic decor style, as well as the seventies retro style, are likely to employ macramé in their homes. It’s not just for bohemians and disco chicks, though. Macramé decor can be a great compliment to minimalist, mid-century, and even farmhouse decorating styles!
Who Invented Macrame?
That’s a tough question to answer, since record-keeping back then wasn’t concerned with fiber art!
However, it is possible to trace the history of macrame through time. The best guess as to the origin of macrame places us in Arabia in the 13th century. The word “macrame” is thought to have come from the Arabic word for fringe: “migramah”.
There are also traces of early macramé knot-tying in depictions of Assyrian and Babylonian history, meaning the origins of macramé could date back even further than we think. However, the popularity of macramé as textile art is most likely attributable to those 13th century artisans, and one other group of people that might surprise you…
Sailors: The Original Macramé Hobbyists
While they never got to sell their work on Etsy, sailors in medieval times needed ways to keep from going crazy with boredom at sea. Since they were already skilled knot-tiers by trade, and they likely had lots of junk rope laying around, macrame 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.
When did Macrame Become Popular?
Now that you know who invented macramé, it’s time to get to the next part of our journey!
Fiber art took off in the 18th and 19th century, in England primarily, but also around the world. Victorian England was covered in macramé; Queen Mary II even taught it to her ladies-in-waiting!
It was especially popular with middle class homes, since it was an art form that could be taken up by any wife or mother. As a result, these homes were adorned with doilies, tablecloths, and window treatments – all made from macrame!
Fiber art was en vogue for a long time, but it gradually faded as decorating trends shifted more toward intricate, fine craftsmanship. Macrame all but disappeared for more than a century, until it came back with ferocity in…
This is the time period that most people think of when they hear the word “macrame”. The massive hippie movement, as it carried into the seventies, created the perfect storm for a macrame popularity explosion!
In this decade, macrame was used for everything from home decor to purses, sweaters, and even flip-flops! Macrame fit in with the counter-cultural aesthetic because it represented a rejection of mass-produced, unethical manufacturing.
Macrame’s homemade, earthy vibes were a perfect fit for anyone who went against the cultural and political grain of the decade. America was dealing with the Vietnam war, oil shortages, and economic strife.
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. Macrame was an obvious, stylish, and effortlessly chic choice for many people!
Five Cool Modern Macrame Ideas
Today, macrame is experiencing something of a renaissance. It’s trendy with all sorts of people, and doesn’t show any signs of stopping! Plus, nowadays, there are tons of awesome places to learn macrame for free! To close out this article on the origin of macrame, let’s look at some awesome modern ideas!
1. Giant Wall Hanging
First off, we have the classic wall hanging. The best thing about macrame wall hangings is that no two are the same! They’re a wonderful, understated way of decorating your walls! They look great in every room.
Plant hangers will never, ever get old! They’re simple, easy to hang, and look so much better than boring black wire or chain!
3. Macrame Shelves
These shelves are an easy way to create storage space that fits your bohemian or farmhouse style decor!
4. Hanging Lanterns
This super cool hanging lantern will add tons of style, and really cool light, to your home!
5. Cute Macrame Blooms
Macrame patterns can be used to make all sorts of interest creations, like these cute blooming flowers!
The history of macrame extends back centuries, much farther than the 1970’s trend we remember. From 13th century Arabia, to globe-trotting sailors, to Victorian England, Macrame has had quite the journey!
Did you learn anything new about macrame? Feeling inspired to learn macrame for yourself? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading!
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