Macramé planters, wall hangings are back

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Remember macramé? If you were alive during the 1970s then you likely remember the woven plant holders and wall hangings that epitomized the hippy, happy vibe that was all the rage in home decor. You may have even made one.

Eldorado General Store

Forty years later, macramé is back. It's so popular in fact that the Eldorado General Store on Michigan Avenue in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood can't keep vintage macramé plant hangers in stock. They immediately sell out.

Owner Erin Gavle, who calls her funky, cool vintage shop the Lost City of Gold, was on a buying trip to Portland, Oregon, this week. A big part of her mission: to scoop up more macramé goodies. 

For her, macramé never went out of style. She still has her mom’s own macramé books from the '70s and flips through them often.

“I remember when I was younger my mom taught me to macramé – it was my first business venture actually,” she wrote in an email. “I sold macrame bracelets and necklaces at music festivals when I was younger.”

Gavle is philosophical about why so many are drawn to macramé these days. She said we live in a time when “people are tuning in and starting to question larger systems and structures.”

“This innately draws us to ancient, grounding, tactile, nurturing crafts made with our hands like pottery, weaving, and macramé,” she said. “It’s great to see so many younger artists stepping up and owning this craft and creating beautiful new macramé pieces. The bohemian vibe is a trending lifestyle and macrame is a visual reminder of that.”

Emily Katz is an internationally known macramé artist who, like Gavle, learned her craft from her mom. Her new book, "Modern Macramé" (Ten Speed Press, $25), offers step-by-step directions to create 33 different projects for your home. 

In her book, Katz says the word macramé, in Arabic, is "migramah," which translates to "fringe." The word "makrama," in Turkish, meanwhile, means to "napkin" or "to towel."

According to, macramé is believed to have originated with 13th-century Arab weavers. Artisans knotted the excess thread and yarn along the edges of hand-loomed fabrics into decorative fringes on bath towels, shawls and veils

Katz, who is based in Portland, Oregon, visited Detroit in July as part of a nationwide book tour and conducted a workshop at Detroit's pot + box at the Fisher Building. She taught attendees how to make plant holders.

Katz believes there is a reason macramé has resurfaced.

"More and more of us are seeking a bit of warmth, craft, and adornment in the midst of modern life," she writes. "And macramé -- in its clean-yet-dreamy, updated incarnation -- is a perfect point of entry into creating a unique, one of a kind, handmade lifestyle, one that is literally at your fingertips."

So whether you remember macrame from the '70s or you're just discovering it now, give this art form a chance. It's a groovy way to give any space some personality.

(313) 223-4686

Twitter: @mfeighan

Groovy macrame

Find woven plant hangers, wall hangings and other macrame home decor at some these local retailers:

  • Eldorado General Store, 1700 Michigan Ave., Detroit. (313) 784-9220
  • Gardenviews, 117 E. Main Street, Northville. (248) 380-8881
  • Nest, 460 W. Canfield, #101, Detroit. (313) 865-1500