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Record Time

Step 1: Find a friend! I found Kimberley, she’s my go-to crafting buddy. If you have a friend named Kimberley, use her too. Go to your local thrift shop and find cake molds, bowls, or anything circular that is oven safe over 300 Degrees Fahrenheit. Our bowls were only $1.99. This object will be used to mold your record bowl.

Step 2: Continue shopping at your local Goodwill, or thrift shop to find inexpensive records. Ours were $0.99 each, however many places sell classical albums for $0.25 a pop. Be warned! Sometimes the most AWESOME covers actually have the least attractive records inside. Don’t judge a book (or record) by it’s cover. The inside is what counts (in life, and in record shopping), so open the package and the sleeve and see what the record inside has to offer. This is what will be on display in the end product.

Step 3: Preheat your oven to 250-300 Degrees Fahrenheit. Wipe down your record so it does not have extraneous dust – this will melt into the bowl. Make sure the record is dry. Place your record centered on an oven proof bowl. Place in the oven for no more than five minutes (it starts to let off toxic gas if left in too long) at a time. Open a window and ventilate. At five minutes (but sometimes sooner, use oven light to check if corners are dropping, melting, and bending) take out of the oven using oven mitts! Safety first! Remain calm! Don’t fret!

Step 4: As soon as you take the record out of the oven (it will be hot) work quickly (less than 20-30 seconds) to shape the object. You can use the bowl as a mold, and press the record inside. You can also roll the record as you would when making a megaphone out of paper (lower left hand corner). If you are sculpturally inspired, you can even freehand mold the record into different shapes, or stamp the melted vinyl with pattern. If an object is not folding or forming to your liking, place it in the oven to soften it again for another minute or so. The vinyl cools and dries EXTREMELY quickly – usually in under a minute.

Step 5: Place and show off your object. Here I am planning on using the bowl to hold candy near my bar! Kimberley is using her rolled record (in the previous image) as a sconce or a plant holder mounted to the wall. These bowls can be used as planters because of the hole in the middle makes automatic drainage! Since the item is so inexpensive to make, and takes such a short amount of time to form (some would say RECORD TIME, har har), I would recommend making a ton of them and giving them away to people you love as “just because” presents! What a unique and retro way to decorate.

P.S. All photographs by me.

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Downright Knotty

My mother, queen of all things craft, used to knot and braid macramé often in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I recently asked her to reteach me the craft, and although she remembered perfectly how to hem and crochet, she completely forgot the knotting techniques. She had not touched the hempen rope since the Carter Administration. It seems macramé is much harder than remembering to ride a bicycle.

Gracie, a graphic design student aspiring to be a print and pattern designer, makes some of the most beautiful knotted bracelets I have ever seen. Many more HERE.

This art is simply a form of knot tying. However, there are specific tying patterns and weaving lingo used: hitching, double hitching, half hitch, granny knots.  The knots were long crafted by sailors, especially in elaborate or ornamental knotting forms, to decorate anything from knife handles and plant vases, to bottles to parts of ships. The word “macrame” is Arabic for “fringe,” named after the thirteenth century rug weavers who finished the edges of the loomed material (think rugs) with decorative knots. Based on Arabic conquests, and trade routes, the craft spread globally. Sailors, along routes and while bored, made macramé objects in off hours at sea, and sold or bartered them when they  were at port. Favorite creations were usually hammocks and bell fringes. These were sold in China however, did not catch on as the people already had Chinese Square Knotting.

The Eichler ranch house feels a little bit folksy, a little bit Godfather (thank you horsehead pillow). Hoo Hoo doesn’t love those macrame owls?  Image found via Retro Renovation, HERE.

Sarah Parkes is a designer who works with macrame under her label Smalltown. Above is a residential commission, The Griffin Residence, with a custom chandelier by Parkes. For the product line, go here.

Knotted objects eventually reached the English courts by the 17th century, but did not become de rigueur in the mainstream until the late 1700’s and 1800’s. Sylvia’s Book of Macramé Lace (1882), a  bestseller for the era, showed readers how “to work rich trimmings for black and coloured costumes, both for home wear, garden parties, seaside ramblings, and balls—fairylike adornments for household and underlinens …” Most Victorian homes were outfitted by these intricately tied knots.  Apparently, hippies, children, and other “free love afficianados” saw something utilitarian and inspiring in the knotting. The craft had a huge resurgence in the 1970’s as a means to make wall hangings, articles of clothing, bedspreads, capes, ponchos, shorts, tablecloths, draperies, plant hangers, and other furnishings. Now, every child sent to summer camp knows how to macrame thanks to friendship bracelets (often worn stacked up an entire arm). Sometimes going to overnight camp feels like living in the 18th century meets the 1970’s, so this revitalization makes sense.

Image found HERE.

Be sure that you are ok with feather dusting and steaming! Once a summer camp standby, macramé might be the next big thing found HERE.  Hanging in the lobby of the new Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, L.A. artist and designer Michael Schmidt wanted to shake things up. “I suggested we take the seventies macramé idea further by incorporating nautical and Japanese rope-knotting techniques,” he says. The curtain hangs from assorted pieces of antique hardware, ship’s pulleys and butcher’s hooks. 

Macrame – Knotted Milati Hanging Chair via Antrhopologie, HERE.

Fun and slightly kitschy 1970’s macramé window hangers are just lovely. With circular and triangular patterns, this is sure to allow unique light patterns to brighten up your day.  Made with wood and cotton, the large macramé can go in a window, a door or a wall to give personality. Image found HERE.

A wall hanging on view at Relish in Portland by artist Sally England of Mondo Macrame Product. I just love the fact that back in the day the knotting craze was not just for women, but that men, young boys and girls, teenagers, and the elderly were doing it too,” says England. “People were using their hands to make everything from rad macramé vests and belts, to whole macramé rooms and hanging pods.” 

More organic, eco, and soft Sally England modern macrame, HERE.  So how to use these hangings in a home? “Knotted rope can add some really interesting texture to a space, especially on a large scale,” says England. “Because I generally work with looser knot structures, my room dividers would be great in an open loft-like environment where flow and delineation of space is needed but complete separation is not.” 

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