We are disconnected. Living in a consumer-society has reduced our exposure to how products are actually made. In a continuing series, SoCo will bring you exposure; the art, the technique, the history that binds us. The small details that can make a thing more than it is. Reconnect to your past, the past of all of us, through the visual beauty of ancient art.
“Anybody caught selling macrame in public should be dyed a natural color and hung out to dry.”
– Calvin Trillin
Cavandoli: From Humble Macrame Roots
If you are burdened by memories of the 70’s and 80’s, then you probably know owls, plant hangers, and wall hangings. If you’re more acquainted with the 90’s, then your reference is hemp necklaces adorned with multi-color, clay and glass mushrooms. And if you’re even newer to the world, your moment of recognition likely comes from the resurgence of friendship bracelets. Either way, what you may not remember is the name of this dated and tacky art form: macrame. Appropriated by hippies and alterna-teens, this ancient craft was delegated to the rafters for way too long. Pieces are made by strategically knotting yarn or cord to create patterns and designs in both 2D and 3D forms. But we’re (k)not here to talk about your grandmother’s macrame…
An example of the potential beauty of macrame lies in the technique, Cavandoli, named for the Italian headmistress who created it, and practiced by our featured artist, Marion Hunziker-Larsen. The tightly-knotted threads present color and texture in ways unique to macrame, and the result is many hours of painstaking work and concentration, but stunning all the same.
Perhaps one of the reasons macrame never took its rightful place in the pantheon of art is because it cannot be machined. Any time you see true macrame, it has been knotted, one strand at a time, by hands and arms and time. There is no quick way to produce it, though there are attempted imitations with knitting and crochet machines.
The History, The Story, The ArtMarion Hunziker-Larsen shows off the demonstrable beauty of her art while providing insight to the history of the Cavandoli technique.
Taking The Next Steps
If this little teaser has whet your whistle, and now your hands are itching to get involved, may I suggest The Macrame School for the best produced how-to macrame videos available on the internet.
If you’re more into looking-not-touching, then The Macrame Collective is your one-stop shop for modern macrame in art.
We at SoCo believe that sustainability is not just a lifestyle – it is life. Working with the Earth, for the benefit of all, is tantamount to becoming the best society we can be. Perhaps modern technology has made things easier, but it certainly does not always make them better. In this continuing series, we aim to highlight those artists and techniques that should not be forgotten, and hopefully are never overlooked. By remembering how we started, perhaps we can find a better way to move forward. Please let us know in the comments if there’s a particular artist or technique you would like to see highlighted, and don’t forget to check out posts you missed using this link.