On knots & knitting.

The Wall Street Journal featured an interesting article about fiber arts in their Off Duty section this past weekend ("Retying the Knot: The Macramé Revival" by David A. Keeps). In case you haven't heard, 70's design is making its way back, and arbiters of cool, from the Ace Hotel chain to fashion designer Trina Turk, are using fiber arts such as macramé and weaving to bring it into the twenty-first century one knot at a time. 

 Image by Dina Avila for The Wall Street Journal. Macramé by Sally England for the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

 Image by Dina Avila for The Wall Street Journal. Macramé by Sally England for the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

Fibers add an organic touch to their environments. When faced with a cascading woven installation, I feel an instinctual compulsion to touch it-- is it as soft as it looks? What is it made of? (I do not suggest this if you are in a museum. They frown upon touching the art, or so I hear.) Textiles, by their very nature, are engaging and tactile and relatable. SCAD has a great Fibers department; every year they host an open studio to not only exhibit their students' art, but to also open the doors to the process behind creating those amazing pieces of work. It was something the community looked forward to every year, myself included.

A free-motion embroidered portrait by the uber-talented Michael Birch Pierce.

A free-motion embroidered portrait by the uber-talented Michael Birch Pierce.

I took a Fibers class during my time in Savannah, and it made a huge impression on me. If I'm being entirely honest, I had many days when I asked myself "Why, oh WHY am I not a Fibers major??" They had knitting classes. OUTSIDE. Let me tell you, it's a real punch in the gut to drive past a group of happy girls and their knitting needles sitting under the Spanish moss as you're going to lock yourself in a dark computer lab for the next 24 hours. 

A fiber "hive", Savannah, GA.

A fiber "hive", Savannah, GA.

Never being one to turn away from learning a new craft, I think I'm going to add macramé and arm-knitting (WSJ also wrote about that here… who knew the Wall Street Journal was so cutting edge??) to my list of skills to learn in 2014. Calligraphy is already on the list… it was a carry-over from 2013. Anybody have any good resources for a novice knotter/knitter? Share please! And if you're looking for ways to incorporate fibers into your own home, go for it! You can start small-- try creating a chain from knotted scrap fabric and draping it over a wooden dowel. Hang your creation in an overlooked spot to create a special moment in an unexpected place. Or, if you want to swing for the fences, you can learn to arm-weave with me and together we can create a work of genius to hang in my living room with absurdly high ceilings. Please? Great, see you next weekend.