Macrame Collective

macramecollective.com, a place for people who want to learn more about the fine art of macrame.

Macrame as Sculpture
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Expose yourself to macrame Fire Face Mask

Dawn Standera

I've often referred to myself as a "macrame stalker" As such, I made this site in order to expose people to the versatility, beauty, creativity and fine art of macrame. We can call it knotting, fiber art, handweaving, off the loom weaving, fingerweaving...in the end it is macrame.

It seems to me that all of this work comes down to three knots: half hitch, overhand knot and the lark's head. Some people will argue that the lark's head knot is simply a version of the overhand knot making all of this work possible with only two knots.

Either way, consider that all of the work you see on this site is done with three simple knots.

Versatile. Ancient. Adaptable. Simple.

Joan Babcock

Joan is an artist who is very generous with her knowledge of macrame and techniques. She teaches workshops across the country and has written two books on micro-macrame and has a teaching dvd available. I learned how to macrame from her book and she has been a great influence on my work as well as many others. Her favorite jewelry creations are one of a kind necklaces. The Cavandoli technique, a kind of pictoral tapestry knotting, is a signature of her work. One square inch of knots can take over an hour and contain more than 250 knots. She draws on an intuitive design and color sense and get her inspiration from tribal cultures, Asian art, and natural forms.  www.joanbabcock.com

  You Tube interview with Joan, Fall 2011, 7 parts

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Ed Bing Lee

Artist Statement: "The Picnic series marked my first foray into the world of fiber art. The series dating from the mid 1980's, juxtaposed selected passages from two of George Seurat's monumental paintings, namely Sunday on the Grande Jatte and Bathers at Asnieres, with contemporary food images selected from advertising art. Some 10 years later, I turned again to the food images, visualizing them three dimensionally. However, the transition from earlier pieces to sculptural forms was not an immediate one, I moved gradually through several series, including framed pieces of historical miniatures, bas-relief of Orchids, the Earthcrust series and the current series, titled Meditations on the Chawan."

"My initial attraction to the process of knotting was its immediacy and the fact that little specialized equipment is required, which allows for great latitude in approach as to design, concept and technique. In the Picnic series the work is akin to making a tapestry. The image is created by vertical clove hitch over a fixed "warp", guided by a cartoon. I thought the process of creating an image of multicolor knots is not unlike Seurat's pointillism. In three dimensional or sculptural work, the knotting process is most forgiving and the work can progress in many directions simultaneously. The distinction of warp and filling is interchangeable. Shaping is possible in a variety of ways: by adding or dropping ends, by using different tensions, by using different knots or by using a different material. It is in the Chawan series that I sought to revitalize my work habits by revisiting these possibilities."

"In the end, I continually return to art history for visual and conceptual stimulation. For me it is the perfect jumping off point for work in a technique that knows no boundaries."  www.edbinglee.com

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Sandy Swirnoff

For Sandy, the pleasure of working with fiber combined with beadwork is the same: making the concepts in her imagination come to life. She likes the intimacy of holding the fiber cords in her hands and shaping them into surprising patterns and designs. She enjoys the opportunity that each piece presents — how to get from one place to another in the most attractive and graceful manner.  www.swirnoff.com

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Marion Hunziker-Larsen

Jewels in Fiber, a collection of neckpieces, amulets, brooches and earrings is best described as a blend of fiber techniques and jewelry technology. Although trained as a silversmith, Marion's love of fiber led her to the making of jewelry with thread and gemstones.

Marion combines micro macramé knotting, half-hitching, kumihimo, braiding and cordmaking of silk and nylon threads, using as many as 500 knots per square inch. In some of her pieces copper wire armatures serve as structural support for the thread, permitting semiprecious gemstones, fossils or crystals to be set in the pieces. Her handmade fabricated sterling silver clasps add to many of her one of a kind pieces.

Many pieces in her collection are designed using semiprecious gemstones shaped as donuts, rectangles or squares and beads with the knotting of fine silk thread and durable nylon thread, cordmaking and kumihimo braiding. While some of her pieces are one of a kind, labor of love involving many hours of design and execution. Others may have just five to ten knots, a zen statement, distilled to its essence like a haiku, yet still containing her signature.

Marion is personally involved in the various aspects of her work. She designs all her pieces, does all the fiberwork herself including some of the dying of the silk threads. She selects and purchases personally all the elements included in her work such as beads and semiprecious gemstones donuts or shapes. Some of the gemstone shapes used in her work are designed by her and cut to her specifications. Her studio is in her home in Redwood City. There she has two separate work areas, one for fiberwork, the other one for metalsmithing. Each piece is handmade by Marion with individual care and attention, one by one!   www.jewelsinfiber.com

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Peter the Knotter

Artist Statement: "My entry into the word of "knots" was when I first became interested in them when living in Whitechapel in the east end of London in the very early seventies. My then girlfriend was a little tardy for a rendezvous and I, casting about for a distraction whilst waiting, saw a little booklet in a shop on the subject of macrame. "

"I had read this booklet by the time she arrived and, later, at home, made my first faltering steps at knotting. Almost thirty years after I picked up that booklet, in the, then, world of Chinese restaurateurs who still wore pigtails, and hand-sewn silk robes, fog in London, snow in winter.. in the South of England... and dustmen's strikes, having presented not a few workshops and demonstrations on the subject, I have been struck by the number of people who remark to me that they are amazed at the participation and effects that knots of all forms have had in history and the progress of all endeavors on this little planet."

"Although I am profoundly interested in knots as a whole, I have a special place in my heart for macrame. From its origins as a way of tidying the ends of woven materials, and, later, popularized by Queen Anne, the Victorians and even later by Vogue magazine; it has developed into many popular forms."

"Macrame is so much more than just pothangers or belts... The number of textures and color combinations possible really is only limited by ones imagination and current technology and textile manufacture can supply us with almost any color or thickness of thread or cord desired. I like making jewelry and some items like Boots and chess sets, which most wouldn't think within the range of macrame...I also hope to do some sculptural macrame in the future as well as writing a book on the subject of knots where macrame will have a prominent space."  peter-the-knotter.deviantart.com

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Norman Sherfield

Artist Statement: "I create small sculptures using a basketry technique known as knotting. It is a simple overhand knot which is knotted around a core of waxed linen threads. With variations of this simple knot, which is repeated over and over, I am able to create a variety of shapes, textures and color patterning. The simplicity of the basic knot, combined with the repetitive nature of knotting, is meditative and allows me to immerse myself in the work. As each knot is tied, it is as though a pulse is added to the form, as though I am breathing life into the weave. The sculptures grow as I work on them, forming baskets or containers of potential life in symbolic form."

"Two major influences running through my work are that of biological science and the automatism of surrealism. Natural biological form is alluring and fascinating to me, and defines the basis for my exploration of form. Building on the forms of the natural world, I combine instinctual and imaginative impulses with dream imagery to explore the boundaries where mind and nature meet. I feel my work is most successful when the viewer finds understanding of the piece in being intrigued with the unknowable. The content of the work is for the viewer to contemplate and complete, only becoming whole with the intellectual and spiritual contribution of the viewer."  knot84rms.blogspot.com

  Fiber Arts Now interview with Norman, Fall 2011

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Merrill Morrison

Artist Statement: "It started with handcrafts—as a young girl my mother and grandmother introduced me to embroidery, knitting and beading. Even as I studied graphic design in college, and worked for many years as a designer, I continued to work with fiber. My interest evolved from weaving to papermaking and ultimately knotting."

"There is nothing like the tactile feel of the threads, as well as the rhythm of making knot after knot, until my shape takes form. I often incorporate beading to add luster and texture, which allows me a multitude of possibilities in surface embellishment."

"My inspirations range from the amazing colors found in nature to the beaded detail work on a magnificent couture evening gown. On the most personal level, knotting gives me a chance to immerse myself in a very peaceful, private meditative process that allows me to create simple, elegant forms with bold, striking colors."  merrillmorrison.com

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Karen Smith

It was during a year spent in Hawaii in her early twenties that she taught herself macrame' knotting from directions in a book. She began by making knotted necklaces from waxed linen and seashells she gathered on the beach. Moving back to California, she discovered a finer fiber in nylon, allowing her to make more intricate knotting designs, which she integrated with gemstones and antique jade. During the 80's and 90's, Karen's work evolved into highly patterned tapestries.  www.karensmithknotworks.com

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Gerri Johnson-McMillin

Artist Statement: "My sculptures of knotted waxed linen are derived from my emotions and personal feelings about life's experience. These emotions guide my hands to carve and sculpt forms of what I want to convey. I use waxed linen or nylon thread to start the dance of tying knots around the sculpture. I love creating the thick and thin rows of knots reminding me that nothing is perfect in life. We will always have highs and lows, mountains to climb and bumps in the road. I think about my life and emotions as I sit and feel the meditative process of each tying knot. "

"I am an international exhibiting artist with work in the permanent collections of the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Museum of Ventura County and the Municipal Art Collection of Ventura City. Since 1999 I have been an Artist-in-Residence at Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo, CA and in 2005 was President of SCIART. I was instrumental in developing the Fiber Art Studio at the Center."  www.gerrijohnsonmcmillin.com

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Leah Danberg

I have been a fiber artist and basket maker since 1984. I was drawn to knotting as a favorite technique for the flexibility it gives me to create sculptural forms, though in a very labor intensive way. Like so many of today's knotters, I learned my knotting basics from Jane Sauer, but my use of color, humor, and text are all my own. The knot I use is just a half hitch, although it takes an incredible number of them of them to complete a single piece. I work with waxed linen and embroidery floss over a Styrofoam form that I carve; usually the form stays in the finished piece. I tend to work intuitively, so about the only thing I draw out is the shape of the form, deciding on the colors, patterns, and even the placement of text as I work.

Since I really enjoy problem solving and engineering challenges, I try to do something new in each piece. My whimsical menagerie has grown quite large as my work continually evolves. The pieces have gotten larger and the animals more complex and more toy-like. As my latest challenge, I have included children interacting with the animals.

Basketry provides me with a great creative outlet, and at the same time has introduced me to a whole community of wonderful, warm, artistic people I would never have known otherwise. I'm part of an informal group of knotters, sometimes referred to as "the L.A. knotters." We get together every three weeks to work on our individual projects and to talk; we talk about our artwork, our lives, and the world. For the last number of years we make collaborative pieces that we donate to for a local charity's fundraiser. We've been doing this for over 15 years.

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Kate Anderson

Kate Anderson, a painter since 1982, began knotting in 1996 after a workshop with noted textile artist Jane Sauer. Kate's knotted objects often reference the work of famous painters from the pop era. Her work has been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the National Craft Gallery of the Irish Craft Council; Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; and the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. Over the past 30 years she has had extensive professional experience as a gallery director, curator, juror, panelist and workshop leader.

"Teapots and cups are familiar and comfortable icons; I create them as containers to hold images of visual art icons. High-art/low-art references come into play by utilizing the teapot or cup, common craft objects, as my sculptural archetype juxtaposed with images appropriated from 'high art'. Quotation, allusion, abstraction, and art/craft references come into play as the repetitive knotting process simultaneously creates a structure, surface and image."  www.kateandersonarts.com

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