It’s the early 1970s and macramé class is officially on the schedule of middle schools across the United States as administrators try introducing trendy arts and crafts courses as a way to boost student engagement. The result was thousands of youngsters spending every cent of their allowances and babysitting salaries on beads and jute. Meanwhile, thousands of mothers of middle school students would find macramé gifts under their Christmas trees.
Sentimentality caused many loving moms to hang on to their handcrafted gifts for decades. But the current mania for all things mid-century modern means that it’s the dawn of finding 1970s treasures for cheap at garage sales and church bazaars. It’s a collectible phenomenon that sees the next trend (in this case, anything from the 1970s) available for pennies while prices for the current trend (in this case, anything you’d see on AMC’s Mad Men) blaze into the stratosphere.
So should you scoop up all things macramé available at thrift stores and even in a pile waiting for the next trash pickup? Only if you love it, say decorating experts. The spare details and clean lines of mid-century modern appeal to many people’s sense of style, which is why so many people desire it. Design features that can only be described as clunky mark items from the 1970s. If your heart skips a beat when it sees barrel chairs, swag lights or thick wood stained dark mahogany, then grab up the macramé planter for $1. But as far as an investment, macramé probably won’t give you much of an ROI (return on investment).
The reason is that there’s a surplus of macramé because it is incredibly easy to do. That’s why it was the craft taught to middle school students. With a basic over and under (or over and over if you want a twisted strand) you can very quickly create anything from jewelry to owl wall art to a hanging chair (it was one lucky mom who got that gift for Christmas!).
Macrame can be traced to the 13th century Middle East, brought to Europe by sailors who enjoyed the craft during their long hours at sea. As popular as macramé was in the 1970s, it was truly at its height during the Victorian era. It was a rare home indeed that didn’t have at least one intricate macramé curtain or fringed tablecloth.
Grunge hipsters brought back macramé jewelry in the early 1990s and it retains its popularity with the eco-/organic/green crowd of all ages. Artisans continue to sell macramé items during pre-show festivities at Phish, Dave Matthews Band and the various incarnations of the Grateful Dead concerts.
At Unique Batik, we feature a variety of bead embellished macramé bracelets and earrings. Most true to 1970s vibe is the Macrame Owl Earrings, the Wavy Macrame Earrings and the Wood Bead Macrame Earrings. The Coco Macrame, the Beaded Coco Macrame and the Coco Macrame Wide incorporate a cutout coconut shell into each bracelet’s design. The Beaded Macrame and the Macramé earrings take the glamour up a notch.
Whether or (k)not you’re a collector, macramé puts you on the cutting edge of the next design trend in a uniquely stylish way.