Dating back to the 13th century from the time of the Arabic weavers, macramé has been an art form that gained popularity and gradually spread all around the world spreading happiness and a sense of satisfaction among the people of various cultures. Macramé is an ancient simple craft of knotting in geometric patterns in order to create some highly creative items. From jewellery and home decoration products to plant holders and wall hangers, macramé can be used to make a variety of products. It is a skilful art form that manages to put diverse geometric patterns on the items without any extra use of hooks, needles or hoops. Square knots and forms of hitching are the primary knots used in this art form. This art form is simple to learn and was used and practiced by the royal courtyards to the sailors going for days together on long voyages. Cotton twine, hemp, leather and yarn were some of the common materials or raw-materials used in macramé to give form to some of the beautiful jewelleries to various home decor fabrics. This article provides you with some interesting and amazing information on the origin and background of the art form, ‘Macramé’.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Macramé
Macramé is said to have originated along with the Arab weavers in the 13th century. These artificers knotted excess thread and yarn along the edges of hand-loomed fabrics to make decorative fringes on bath towels, shawls and veils. The art gained its name from the Arabic word ‘Migramah’ that means “Striped Towel”, “ornamental fringe” or “Embroidered veil”.
There are some documents from the pages of history that claim that Macramé was also done in France and Italy in the 14th and the 15th centuries. France has a history of producing large amounts of Macramé, and the historical data projects that it was considered to be an established art during those days.
The art was taken to Spain after the Moorish conquest and then it got spread all over Europe. It was introduced to England in the late 17th century first time in the court of Queen Mary II, who was so fond of the art that she started learning the craft in Holland. During 1780s, Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, is also said to be busy knotting Macramé fringes for adorning her court. This was the first step towards the popularity of the art, after which Macramé started being introduced to different parts of the world. It was easy for many cultures to adopt the art form as their culture offered something similar to the knotting done in Macramé.
Macramé jewellery also became popular among the American neo-hippie and grunge crowd in the beginning of the 70s. The jewellery makers mainly used square knots and granny knots along with handmade glass beads to make the jewellery. They also used natural elements such as bone and shell to give a decorative finish to the ornaments. Necklace, anklets and bracelets were among popular Macramé jewellery.
Macramé then got immensely popular among the British and North American sailors in the 19th century who spent long hours while sailing to tie knots and hitch knots. They used to make fringes for wheel and bell covers, as well as netting and screens during their long voyages. The products and articles created were then used by these sailors in the barter with China and India, popularizing the art in the Asian part of the world, as a result. Some of the fine examples of Macramé knotted by these sailors can be found in the Seamen’s Church Institute in New York City.
The art form gained most amount of popularity in the Victorian era with almost all the households learning and including the art in their clothing. Sylvia’s book of Macramé Lace (1882) projected to the readers how to work rich trimmings for black and coloured clothes, both for home wear, garden party wears, seaside ramblings and balls.
In the early 20th century, Macrame art focused on a variety of functional objects. These objects included purses, belts, leashes, lanyards, light and shade pulls and bell pulls. During the same time in Portugal, Ecuador and Mexico, artists continued to produce shawls and purses as their native craft even though Macramé now concentrated on a series of objects.
As all the things that succeed or face their downfall, this unique art of Macramé was no exception. As time passed, the skills started to fade out of neglect. It was given a new life again in the ’60s and then the ’70s brought about a resurgence of the ancient skill. But, again in the ’80s, its popularity waned. Though Macramé was on the verge of becoming a past, it regained its name when wall hangings, cloth articles, bedspreads, small jeans shorts, tablecloths, draperies, plant hangers and other goods related to the furniture were introduced in the 21st century.
Today, the skill and hobby of Macramé means different things to different people; for many, the skill is good and special in many ways, while for some it holds no importance. Macramé involves tying knots that can strengthen your hands and arms. Creating a macramé product can be very calming and soothing to the body, mind and spirit; it is also an environment friendly art option. These are just some of the benefits which macramé art lovers believe this art form imparts to its practitioners.