Curved Macrame (2015)
3 feet wide x 8 feet high
Maeve Pacheco is the artist and creator behind Macro Macrame. Based in Brooklyn New York she describes her oversized macrame as ‘eclectic rope art,’ that ‘focuses on elevating vintage designs with new mediums and exaggerated dimensions.’
What is your background in textiles?
After studying display and exhibition design in college, I spent the next decade designing and producing installations, sets and props for retail, photography, special events and theatre. Working as a store display artist lead me to macrame. The Visual Director for Donna Karan Collection asked me to create displays using thick rope. We decided to go with oversized macrame hangings. I studied instructional books to teach myself basic and more advanced knotting techniques. Learning when to use specific types of rope was a process of trial and error. Some knot patterns lend themselves to specific materials and I have developed a sense for this from experience.
Why do you specialise in Macrame?
Specialising in macrame happened organically for me. The first hangings I made were well received and lead to a steady stream of commissions. I love collaborating with clients to create hangings for their homes and business. The beauty of natural fibers and simplicity of macrame resonates with me.
Can you talk us through the process of designing and making a piece?
I work on commission so my design process caters to the client. Sometime clients like sketches, and others prefer samples. When someone reaches out to me about creating a hanging, I cast a wide net for them by offering several options. Through a process of elimination I help them to narrow down the choices and decide on a design to best suit their needs.
Why do you think macrame is currently so popular and how have the designs evolved since its popularity in the 1970’s?
I attribute macrame’s popularity to the current cultural movement towards sustainability, slow living and conscious consumerism. Macrame is natural, handmade and one-of-a-kind and I think that is what people appreciate about it. The evolution of macrame has all of the same ingredients as the fiber art movement in the 1970’s. Modern fiber artists continue to explore the limitless potential of macrame by using non traditional materials and experimenting with scale.
Why do you tend to not use colour?
I do not use coloured cord very often because clients don’t ask for it. Whenever someone wants a coloured piece I happily dye it for them. I love to use natural dyes.
How long does one of your larger pieces take?
An average size for one of my large hangings is 10 foot wide x 10 foot high. Depending on the intricacy of the design a 10 foot wide x 10 foot high hanging takes 5-12 weeks to create.
Does knotting thick rope hurt your hands or do you get used to it?
Knotting thick rope does hurt my hands and the pain extends up the arms. Unfortunately it has gotten worse over the years. I now know the importance of taking breaks to give my body time to recuperate.
Where do you source your rope?
The thickest rope I use is custom made in a Florida mill. I buy thin cord from all over the country. I don’t keep a back stock of materials so I source from whoever has the quantity of cord I need in stock.
Do I have any advice for aspiring textile artists?
My advice to aspiring textile artists is to create without letting worry or insecurity get in the way. I have noticed that some people who love creating art get stuck and frustrated while they are in the process of making something. I think if I let doubt into my creative process I would be less productive. My approach is to create the bulk of a hanging without reservation and then when the hanging is nearly complete I go back a fix the areas that I am dissatisfied with. I attribute my humble success to my revision process. I rarely make hangings that I am happy on the first try but I know from experience that if I go back to refine, re-work and re-do pieces that ultimately I can create something beautiful.