Knot Your Typical Craft

City High teacher expresses her creativity through the art of macrame


Matisse Arnone

Mrs. Watson poses with a handmade macrame project.

Matisse Arnone, Reporter

Staying home during the Coronavirus pandemic led a lot of people to pick up new hobbies. From baking to gardening, to music-making, it seems like everybody was starting something new. For City High Government teacher Carrie Watson, plant collecting turned into a way for her to express her creativity through macrame.

“Over the pandemic, I, like a lot of other people, started collecting plants. I went from one plant to twenty,” Watson said. “As I got more plants, I realized I needed to put them places, so I started making some plant hangers.”

According to The Spruce Crafts, macrame is the art of creating various textiles using knots. The thousand-year-old practice has gone in and out of popularity, but Watson first heard of the craft from her mom in the 70s. For her macrame, Watson likes to expand beyond the normal plant hangers and wall hangings typically associated with the craft.

“My niche and the area that I have really enjoyed is using found objects or primitive tools to incorporate so that it’s a one-of-a-kind piece,” Watson said. “[Doing] different things at different times allows me not to feel like I’m stuck doing the same thing over and over.”

Since first starting the hobby at the start of the pandemic, Watson began selling her macrame pieces on a mini eBay store two summers ago. As she saw her business succeed online, she decided to expand more.

“I started thinking that the things that I was making were cool, and friends were telling me they were cool. I wanted to see if they were lying to me, so I did my first farmer’s market and it went well,” Watson said.

Watson’s interest in macrame has only grown since she picked up the hobby because of how it allows her to express a creative and artistic flare.

“I have never considered myself artistic. I can’t draw. I can’t paint. Since doing this, I find I look at things differently now. I look at things based on what’s their potential, not what they are,” Watson said. “My eye and my view of the world has evolved, and I love that. Anytime you can look at the world in a different way, I think you’ve opened yourself up.”

Going forward, Watson hopes to continue expanding her macrame business by making larger and more artistic-focused pieces.

“People say open up Etsy – I got a job,” Watson said. “Where I want to go is on a larger scale and to start submitting to actual art shows rather than craft shows. I think this summer I might apply for the Arts Iowa [Festival].”

Watson believes that the internet has given others who are curious about trying out a new hobby or craft many opportunities to learn. She encourages people interested in trying a new craft to go for it even though it could be intimidating.

“Just try something new. I mean, I’ve tried so many crafts. I take some of my inspiration from TikTok. I learned everything on YouTube,” Watson said. “I would say start something small, don’t invest a lot of money into something and see if you like it, and then [you can] see if other people like it.”

Regardless of whether you end up making money or not, Watson believes that doing something artistic has immeasurable benefits. Personally, she thinks that seeing other people pleased by the things you make can be a very rewarding experience to have.

“It’s not really about people buying, it’s about the process and if you enjoy the process because most artists, even professional artists don’t make a lot of money. It’s not a money-making business. It is a make things and watch people enjoy life [type of] business,” Watson said. “It’s really fun to see somebody excited about something that you have created from scratch.”