Featured Post

9 Songs Written By Prince Covered By Other Artists

My biggest Prince memory is of a college friend that was madly in love with him. So much so, that she invited me and other friends to her...

Monday, August 23, 2010

No Way Macrame

This weekend I went to an open market in South Boston and much to my delight, was excited to see the huge vintage flea market component to it - a treat for any retrophile. In addition to snatching up a 1960s tea/coffee set made in Germany for only $50, I also brought home a couple of groovy Family Circle mags from 1971. Chock-full of lots of good, bad, and ugly retro stuff, I plan on scanning them piecemeal. First up is this feature on macrame!

Of all of the vintage crafts and fads that were invented during the 20th century, I probably get macrame the least. Who possibly thought it would make a good craft, who actually made macrame and most importantly, why? Doing some quick Googling reveals that it actually goes back thousands of years and was popular in Victorian times, but its heyday was clearly the 70s. At first I thought it was an easy alternative to those who couldn't or didn't want to knit and crochet, until I read the actual directions that accompanies these images. Some of the projects look quite complicated - and you also need to dye the sisal and twine to achieve the colors you want. 

But more than that, and no offense to anyone who does/did the craft, but I just don't think anything aesthetically appealing was ever created using macrame. It will always be the epitome of awful 70s fashion/fads, I'm afraid. See for yourself with this scanned article. Martha Stewart would never touch this stuff. Who the heck wants to wear or hang up things made out of rope? 

Of course - a shag purse to match your shag rug!
Kind of a risque picture for Family Circle! It doesn't distract from how hideous those "barefoot sandals" are, though (but then again, I'm not a guy.) The magazine calls the thing around her neck a dog collar - I call it animal cruelty.
Not sure what the point of the armband is, but then again if there is a point to any of this, will someone let me know?


  1. Looks like a lot work to look tacky. I partilarly like the crown looking headband thingy in the first picture.

  2. My mom, brother and I used to love going to flea markets and garage sales. The one that you went to sounds great and I'm glad that you found some good stuff at it. I think that my aunt or grandma had a macrame that looked like an owl hanging on her wall. I like the purple turtleneck sweater that the girl is wearing in that article.

  3. I totally remember the macrame purses and plant hangers! The plant hangers were actually pretty nifty.

  4. Manifesting the previous decades' futurism, the early 70s brought an intense aesthetic of a bright, smooth, plastic, and a manufactured future. I think it became at odds with the earthy styles, colors, textures that many felt (even rebelled to) as part of the nature, eco and self-sufficiency movements, and just part of being a tactile, capable human being. The zeitgeist of the time must be understood before judging the art/technique/material; I think macrame and primitive arts (like Leathercraft, pottery, string art) crossed that gulf being tactile, organic, earthy, allowing people to feel back in touch with the earth. As well, IIRC, it fit in well with the darker (emerging) color pallette; chicken or egg?. Also remember that in those days, there was not nearly as much product choice - either it was hand-made (expensive or not available where you live), or you had more limited factory items, colors, and clothes you could buy off the shelf - not like today with automated manufacturing and cheap and varied clothes imports. Stores could not stock everything. As well, non-commodity/high-tech/custom materials like vinyls, metals, chemicals (things we take for granted) for crafts or construction were expensive or non-existent, limited in color, range, and availability. Lots of things have changed, some for the better.


  5. "Not sure what the point of the armband is..."

    The very definition of "fashion", I think.


  6. I definitely don't get it myself. Something I sure wouldn't wanna see make a comeback.

  7. I kind of love it, I have to admit. Mostly because it's just so dated. Would I wear it? Probably not. That woman can barely pull it off and she's a model! But I look and it's all, "Oh, that's SO 70s!"

    My co-worker at my last job was fascinated with macrame. We had some kind of discussion over it. He didn't want to make it, he was just obsessed with what it was.

    And I kind of like the belt. There, I said it.

  8. I'm with Lara Ann - I like the purple turtleneck sweater she's wearing...and that's about it!

    Actually I do like the headbands...but yeah, not really something you can wear today...although these items would make good conversational pieces.

  9. I like the random belt thing! I might start sporting one of those, made by my own fair hand of course. I recently found a stack of French fashion magazines from the 40s, 50s and 60s - doing a similar thing to you, looking at the funny yet amazing pictures and trying to figure out what on earth some of the adverts were for!

  10. Thanks, Marlene, for reminding me of the plant holders. My mom, Aunt Al and grandma used to have these. I can't believe that I forgot about this.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Like This Post? Share It!