Even in the 1970’s most of the cool set thought macramé was only for hippies or bored convicts. But you could make loads of groovy and useful stuff with macramé, like . . . erm . . . er . . . plant hangers and . . . er . . . um . . . belts and . . . erm . . . no, you’ve got me there, I’m afraid!
Macramé became the handicraft of choice for the flower children decade. The hippies embraced nature, and anything hand done was considered a valuable art, as opposed to the mass commercialism of machine manufacture.
The 1960s returned to handicrafts and folk-inspired fashions, and the decorative thread knotting from Arabic lands inspired a macramé revival.
An exotic textile borrowed from the East, Macramé had been a popular choice for home decor in the 19th century, with delicate doilies and fringe trim on curtains and furniture.
Macramé is a series of weaving and knotting, much like crochet or Chinese knotting, to create intricate textiles. Macramé could be done on a large scale, with coarse cotton or jute rope to create hanging planters, but the real delicacy of hippie Macramé was found in clothing and jewellery.
The ethnic handicraft was translated into open-weave dresses and tops that played peek-a-boo with the body underneath. Intricate circles were woven together, much like the patterns of a spider’s web, to form body-hugging garments of romantic style.
Macramé also made interesting jewellery when woven as belts and bracelets or used as a foundation for beading. This process incorporated beads by cradling them into the open spaces, then weaving a frame around them.
The delicate craft faded after its 60s/70s revival, but nearly every citizen of those decades had a handmade macramé owl hanging on their wall!
It came back in a small way in the 90s, renamed as “knotting”