We meet self-taught macrame Madre Emma Rogers to learn about her love of knots.
How did you find yourself tied up in macrame?
“When my youngest went to school, I had two days a week to myself, and I really wanted to make something and be productive with this time. I visited my brother and saw he had a macrame plant hanger and I thought I’m going to give that a go, all I need is some rope and a hoop! My mum is from Finland and comes from a background where everything is made by themselves with what they have, living on a farm, making rugs and socks out of their own loom, which really resonated with me throughout this process. I brought a book from the Amnesty bookshop to get started, but I’m completely self-taught. It was so fiddly when I first started, and I undid as many knots as I made, but that’s the wonder of it, there are no guidelines to follow necessarily, and you can create something completely unique. You can make almost anything, yoga mat straps, bottle holders, hanging decorative pieces, anything you want!”
Where do you start with your designs?
“I usually have an idea and then run with it, that’s the beauty of this creative art, it’s so freeing to have the flexibility with designs, it’s so therapeutic for me. I found that almost all the designs I was spotting on social media and in stores was that iconic cream, beige colour, which is beautiful, but I love colour, so I wanted to try something different and really make it my own! I sourced a supplier that could provide these gorgeous, vibrant cottons, and there was no going back. I also love to incorporate beads into my designs. For me, it’s all about adding that bit of personality, leaving your mark on your creations.”
Do you have a favourite piece you create?
“I would say plant and wall hangings are my favourite items to create, but I do also like to push myself a little and step out of my comfort zone. I’ve created headdresses, chair hangings and even a full arbour for a wedding before, which was incredibly special. To have something that I made not only part of their day, but then also kept on for their family life was so touching. You see more and more of that bohemian, vintage-style theme running through weddings at the moment, and the texture that macrame brings works beautifully for those little touches.”
As a teacher by profession, how does macrame fit in with family life?
“As a mum, I think there can be a tendency to feel guilty about taking the time to do something for you, but it’s been incredibly important for everyone to have some form of escape. My workspace is on the top floor of my family home, so to be able to sneak away for 5 to 10 minutes a day (longer is needed in the summer holidays!) is amazing. It’s such a simple art of just trying knots, but the different designs and patterns you can make from something so simple fascinates me. It’s been invaluable for my well-being and mental health, and that ‘escape’ is different for each person. Whilst it’s lovely to pop some music on and have no one screaming ‘mum’ whilst I lose myself up here, there’s nothing more I love than getting my kids together to join me, my eldest does actually love it and can throw together a plant hanger quite quickly now!”
What can people expect from one of your workshops?
“I have found that teaching adults at a workshop is very rewarding because they are keen to learn and they enjoy acquiring a new skill. At one point, my entire house was filled with macrame, and I had so many friends and family members who had shown an interest in giving it a go. So, I got them all together with a load of prosecco, popped the rails out and we made our own plant hangers, and from there the workshops were born. I love marrying up my passion for teaching and art, more and more people want to be a bit more creative with their free time as opposed to just going to the pub or binging a series. It’s incredible to be able to teach people a new skill that they can take away and make their own, whilst having fun and socialising.”