Words and photos by Olivia Bauso
Laura Seymour has faint memories of macrame from her youth. The craft of creating textiles from knotting techniques has been around for centuries, but gained steam in the 70’s as a means to make home decor, clothing, bedspreads and much, much more. Laura’s mother's and grandmother’s homes were filled with orange, brown and yellow knotted creations. Now, macrame has made it’s way back into Laura’s life in a new way.
Laura is the brains and hands behind Hitch + Cord, a modern macrame business churning out wall hangings, banners, plant hangers, jewelry and other pieces here in Rochester. Originally from Hilton, NY, Laura attended SUNY Fredonia, where she was first introduced to the “art life,” as she puts it. After completing her degree in English, Laura fell into corporate marketing, but always had an eye for home decor and interior design. Laura says, “I’ve always been into decorating, so I was reintroduced to this modern look of macrame through social media and some of the blogs and home designers I follow. I was totally obsessed with it and couldn’t believe it was macrame!”
With her new introduction to macrame, Laura hoped to support a local artist making wall hangings that she could purchase for her home, but soon found no one in the area was doing such a thing -- or providing classes for it either. So, she went to the library, took out a stack of books and taught herself. It wasn’t all that easy, but Laura found a way to bring her visions to life: “What I was learning from the 70’s wasn’t what I was seeing in my head, so it took a long time to get the hang of it.” Laura’s designs, unlike those in her memories, carry an updated, modern feel. She uses mainly white cotton rope and driftwood collected right here; natural, neutral materials.
Laura launched Hitch + Cord in February of 2016, and recently celebrated one year since taking on the business full time. In addition to making and selling homemade pieces, Laura has made it part of Hitch + Cord's mission to bring modern macrame back to life in Rochester. This means spreading her knowledge of the art through classes and events, the way she first attempted to learn.
Today, Laura is sharing a sneak-peek into the basic knots that are the foundation of many macrame creations, in hopes of inspiring the macrame artist in you!
The Lark's Head
The Lark's Head Knot is one of the most frequently used decorative knots in Macrame. Another name for this knot is the Cow Hitch. Since this knot is a "hitch", it is used frequently in the mounting process. That's when you attach one cord to another, or onto a mount (in this case, the driftwood!).
The Square knot is the most important decorative knot used in Macrame. There are many variations and patterns that can be made using this knot alone, or in combination with other types of Macrame knots. The square knot uses four pieces of rope, two "working" cords, and two "filler" cords.
The Spiral Stitch is also called the Half Knot Spiral, because it's made with 1/2 of a Square Knot. When you tie a regular Square Knot, you alternate the direction the cords move for each half, which keeps it flat. For this design, the cords are moved in the same direction each time, which causes the twisting.
The Clove Hitch (& Square Blend)
The Clove Hitch is a common Macrame knot, which has several variations that can be used in Macrame projects. It provides a good strong hold, which is why it's so popular. Here, Laura blends this with a square knot to create a specific look for the piece.
Macrame is not just a nostalgic craft. It had made it's way back in art, fashion and home decor-- and it's better than ever. The best part? It's totally user friendly, once you get the hang of it. Learning to macrame all on your own can be challenging, as Laura discovered. Luckily, you can join her in one of her classes for an in-person learning experience!