School of Macramé: A millennial story

Welcome to the School of Macramé! 🙂 Through several articles on our Blog, we will explore the world of this beautiful technique!

Today we dedicate this first post to the history of Macramé, because we think it’s interesting to understand how big is the cultural context in which this technique has developed. We know, commonly, that the fundamentals of the Macramé technique are the knots. Tying two ropes together we can create a multitude of patterns. Thanks to this craftwork, we can make all kinds of objects: bags, panels, curtains, handles, jewelry, stoles, belts, clothes etc. But, perhaps, what is more fascinating about Macramé is that it has deep historical roots, which date back to thousands of years ago, when the man created the first artifacts. Knotting is a functional action born to meet the many needs of everyday life. For this reason, from generation to generation, it has become natural, since childhood, to teach this gesture, which has become part of different traditions and cultures all over the world. We have testimonies of such artifacts found in Japan and dating back to 1300 B.C. They were band bracelets made with tendril twigs! They were in a burial site, as they were considered sacred objects with magical powers. Ancient civilizations attributed special properties to talismans, pendants and jewels, both for protection and to promote fertility and longevity. There are testimonies of objects made with knotting techniques also in Eastern Europe, West Asia, in the Middle East and in the Mediterranean. From their origins to their development, the various traditions concerning Macramé have developed in independent contexts, coming into contact, later on, thanks to trade and migratory phenomena.

As far as the word “Macramé” is concerned, we know that it comes from the Arabic word “migramah”, which literally means fringe. The fringes adorned horses and camels with the aim of keeping insects away in the hot crossing of the desert of Africa! During the Middle Ages, this process has experienced a very strong unprecedented cultural diffusion in Islamic countries, which became the fulcrum of influence for the neighbouring markets of Asia and Europe, including Italy. To this day, the word Macramé has been adopted in many languages, including English and French!

In Italy the technique of Macramé has been widely used, between the 15th and the 16th century, as decoration for women’s dresses. In the city of Genova , it was known as “Punto a Groppo”. In fact, what we know today as Macramé could be considered a modern form of the “Punto a Groppo”. During the colonial period, it developed in the territories of Canada, North America, Mexico and South America. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria of England brought him to court, turning it into a trendy hobby! Instruction books and tools were produced to teach young wives and daughters how to decorate their homes. Afterwards the Macramé disappeared for a short time, and it came back in the 1960s as a creative hobby and art form, both in Europe and America. Thanks especially to fashion magazines, such as Vogue, it has once again become part of an extended cultural phenomenon. Throughout the 70s, thousands of newspapers with schemes and tools for Macramé work were sold! Moreover, the Macramé spread in fashion industry thanks to the mass production of women’s clothing and accessories and, nowadays, we still find it in fashion and hobby industries.

To date, thanks mainly to the internet, Macramé does not stop renewing its popularity, and many hobbyists continue to communicate their passion for this technique through social networks, blogs and virtual shops! If you are interested in buying products for Macramé, Kumihimo and much more, visit our online jewelry shop!

In the next post we will talk about Macramé tools and supplies! Keep following us…

See you soon!!! 🙂

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