With their free flowing fringes cascading down from creatively knotted patterns, Macramé Wall Hangings imbue any room with subtle but definite hippie vibes. It’s partly because of those quirky fringes which are reminiscent of the fringed attire that hippies favored. Adding to the hippie vibe are the whimsical designs created purely by the imaginative use of knots made one at a time around the chosen frame. Just putting the individual elements together in different ways can produce a wide assortment of macramé wall hangings, each one more stunning than the next.
So what exactly is macramé and where did it come from? Learning a little about the fascinating history of macramé can make for some interesting conversations when guests ask about your intriguing macramé wall hangings.
The Fascinating Origins & History of Macramé
The first recorded appearance of decorative macramé goes way back to carvings by the Babylonians and Assyrians that depicted costumes adorned by fringed braiding. These carvings were few and far between however. They are not really considered the forerunners of the macramé trend.
Macramé weaving as a popular art form is believed to have originated in 13th century Arab culture. Arab weavers of that time knotted the excess thread and yarn to create decorative fringes on hand-loomed shawls, towels, and veils. They called their creations ‘migramah’, an Arabic word that loosely translated to ‘ornamental fringe’, ‘embroidered veil’ or ‘striped towel’.
The craft was introduced to Europe via North Africa, when the Moors brought these intriguing knotted decorative items to Spain, where it was called by the Spanish word ‘macramé’. The Spaniards in turn introduced it to France and then to Italy, from where it slowly spread throughout Europe in the 16th century.
England got its introduction to macramé only in the late 17th century. Queen Mary II of England was completely captivated by this knotted art form and taught her ladies-in-waiting how to create their own macramé masterpieces. Soon it became one of the most popular hobbies for women in Victorian England. Young ladies learnt the art of macramé as part of their education towards becoming a cultured woman. Instructions on making everything macramé, from curtains and wall hangings to table linens and cushion covers, could be found in all types of women and home journals. These handmade creations were then displayed proudly in almost every aristocratic home.
The most surprising propagators of macramé were European sailors. Or maybe it wasn’t really all that surprising given the sailors’ mastery over knot-making. Already familiar with tying reef, square, hitch and other useful knots for practical purposes, it was easy for the sailors to use their knot-making skills for more creative purposes. The sailors took to macramé as a way to break the boredom during those long, endless voyages. They made macramé belts, hats, and hammocks, which they sold or bartered when they docked at various ports around the world. Very soon, macramé became a worldwide sensation.
The trend died down in the 20th century till…
The Wild N’ Wonderful Resurgence of Macramé in The 1970s
In the early 70s, the hippies discovered macramé and fell head over heels in love with this art form. To them, macramé reflected their free-spirited lifestyle with its cascading fringes and nubbly knots. The hippies incorporated macramé in just about every aspect of their lifestyle from tablecloths, bed spreads and plant hangers to tops, jean shorts, wall hangings and other furnishings and décor pieces.
That association between the hippies and macramé is just as strong today as it was back in the 70s. When looking at a macramé wall hanging, it’s not unusual to go back in time to those wild and wonderful days when the hippie culture was at its peak. However, this does not limit the use of macramé to only a ‘boho and beachy’ style of décor. What’s really fantastic about macramé wall hangings is that they are versatile enough to suit various décor styles, from sophisticated and contemporary to rustic and shabby chic.
Macramé wall hangings add a large dose of texture, character and warmth to any space. They are also an interesting and affordable way to break the monotony of a plain blank wall instead of investing in hugely expensive wall art. And with the wide variety of styles and textures available, from delicate crescent moon shaped hangings to chunkier styles with varying thicknesses, you’re sure to find a macramé wall hanging that’s a perfect fit for your space.
Written By Diana D'Souza