|Participants sit around a wooden table in the lovely yard surrounded by plants, pictures, and several beautifully intricate Macrame patterns
One of those workshops is “Dance your fingers with Macrame”, which was held monthly to introduce handmade enthusiasts to the art of tying knots in making decorative items. With patience and a little practice, participants can create a beautiful work on their own that they can wear, display or even sell to make a little extra cash.
The workshop started at 4pm at Velo Love Cafe Bar, a coffee shop nestled in a small alley of Ve Ho street, Hanoi. Participants sat around a wooden table in the lovely yard surrounded by plants, pictures, and several beautifully intricate Macrame patterns.
No experience or back-ground knowledge was required but patience is useful. Spending half a day with the workshop, the participants enjoyed a relaxing time while being instructed step-by-step on how to make simple decorative items like door hangers, wall hangings, or tree holders.
- “I think it’s a very interesting workshop. I didn’t know about this craft before but I think it’s pretty good.”
- “I think it’s very good seeing many people here, being creative, and making things together. And Macramé, I think it’s new in Vietnam.”
The workshop is part of a project run by “HMOOB”, a group of 7 Hmong girls who are now working and studying in Hanoi. Established last year, the group became known widely thanks to support from freelancer Nguyen Huong Linh, who helped them come up with the idea of organizing the workshops.
Linh said, “About 1 year ago, this group of students actually started a small business making bracelets, however it wasn’t successful. And when I saw their designs, cause I am a designer myself, so I was thinking maybe they can do something, you know, contemporary, more like eye-catchy.
So I actually contact them and I said like “Let me help you with a few ideas, and if you interested, so we can make it happen.” And they were very excited with the ideas of changing it to Macramé and they wanted me to help them out with organizing workshops.”
|The workshop is part of a project run by “HMOOB”, a group of 7 Hmong girls who are now working and studying in Hanoi
One of the girls, Phuong Gem from Ha Giang, talked about the reason why the group came up with the idea of organizing the workshop.“We want to organize such workshops to introduce more about this art form to Vietnamese people. This is the second workshop. At the previous workshop, everybody was really happy that they actually learned a new skill, and brought the product home within just 2 hours. Marcrame ist actually about creating knots using only your hands. No supportive equipment is needed. So, that’s the reason why we choose the name “Dance with your fingers” for the workshop.”
The knots can also be applied in a variety of crafts, for example jewelry making, furniture decorating, gift wrapping, and wall hangings as well. From the basic knowledge learned at the workshop, participants will be able to create their own piece of Macrame that will fit their taste and style.
Huong Linh said “Macrame is the kind of art that comes from Arabic culture, so they actually use it to make beautiful hanger and even clothing and fashionable accessories. I think the different mostly is about the simplicity in the art that you do not need so much tools, and you don’t need any equipment, and you just with your fingers and some strings, and maybe a stick of bamboo or a a piece of wood, and you’re ready to go.
But if you do crochet or knitting or sewing, it usually involves a lot of equipments. And also it takes time to learn. But when you do knotting, it’s a lot easier. You know, all we have to do is just be creative and try different things until you find out your own favorite knots.”
Macrame gives you exciting results after just a few hours of knotting. Talking about the items that they made during the workshop, participant Malthide from France, said “I like it. In Europe, it was common, but many years ago.
So, some people think it’s like old-fashioned. But no, I think all that we’ve done today is really good-looking things, well, modern designs.”
Making Macrame, you don’t have top run around and buy pieces of equipment before you can start as the art requires no supportive tools. Many materials can be used to make Macrame.
Linh elaborated that “In Vietnam we don’t have the original or the authentic macrame, but we have different kind of strings as well. Some people even make similar designs with, you know, recycled clothes. Yoou can just cut them out and start knotting with them.
You cut your clothes to strips, and then. So the materials depend on your creativity. You don’t have to run around and like buy ten million equipment before you can start. You can start easily, sometimes by looking at the pictures of different kinds of macrame knot, then you already know how to do it too. It’s possible.”
Participant Nguyen Huyen from Hoi An said, “This is the first time I tried Macrame, which is hard, but definitely fun to do. The instructors are all very friendly and teach us how to make the product step-by-step, which makes the knotting not so hard anymore.”
More complex forms of Macramé can take hours of practice and even years to fully master. But if you just want to make some personal designs for a school project or for a home improvement venture, this workshop is definitely for you.