Four years ago, Shian Ellen had to spend some time recuperating at home after being diagnosed with endometriosis. Her grandmother, or who she endearing calls Nanna, sent her a package filled with woven fibre art, embroidery works and macramè DIY books. Inspired to recreate her great-grandparent’s artworks, Shian made full use of her time recovering to learn everything she needs to know about macramè. Read on to discover Shian’s journey to perfecting her macramè skills and exactly what makes her a KOEL kid!
1. Tell us more about your background and what led you to choosing macramè as a craft?
I grew up in an artistic family. My Mum and Nanna are both artists and so I’ve always had a passion for crafting, whether it be painting or drawing. It wasn’t until I fell ill with endometriosis roughly 4 years ago where I discovered my love for macramè. I remember being sick at home, not being able to work when my Nanna sent me a package in the mail. It was filled with woven fibre art, embroidery works and macramè DIY books. In her letter, she told me that these beautiful pieces of art were all created by my great grandparents, and that I might be able to do something similar to keep my mind busy whilst I was sick at home. So I started to research different fibre art, in which I came across a macramè DIY video and was hooked! I spent hours reading the macramè books she gave me and spent days trying to perfect each knot, learning how to layer and add as much texture as I could to each wall hanging.
2. What makes you a KOEL kid?
I love incorporating the feel of nature into my work and adding as much detail as I possibly can. I want others to see what I see when I’m designing or creating a wall hanging. I also love playing around with thick textures and fringing to give each piece an enchanting and whimsical vibe - to allow them to feel the whimsical energy spilling out of each piece.
3. Share with us the creative process behind each of your projects.
It’s interesting because an idea derived from one project can give me inspiration for my next one, but generally my ideas stem from being out in nature. I basically have to carry a notebook and pencil everywhere I go, just in case inspiration strikes unexpectedly. I sketch out my ideas and how i envision each wall hanging to look. I like my collections to be represented by what I was feeling at that moment inspiration took place.
After sketching the designs, I prep my wooden rods with cotton strings and try to imitate the sketch I drew. It’s all knotting and unknotting, cutting more strings to create thick layers, texture, and detail, more knotting, stretching, and knotting again. Sometimes, however, my hands take on a mind of its own and a whole new design starts to take place. I love it when that happens. By the end, I like to sew all of layers together so that over time they won’t come apart. Trim, add some more fringing, and trim again. That’s basically the process.
4. Pick one of your favourite designs and answer these quick questions:
The inspiration behind the design is… For my love of the moon. I had the idea of doing a macramè moon at some stage but couldn’t exactly work out how I wanted it to look or what I wanted it to represent. One day, when I was on one of my adventures in the woods, there were dark green ivy plants dangling all around me.
I thought to myself, “Wow, look at that, just look at how the tree acts as a support system for all that climbing ivy, tangling its way through all the branches and leaves”. It travels everywhere and thrives places where no other plants could survive. It is determined to reach through obstacles towards the light, and then i thought, so should we. The botanical ivy moon is probably one of my most popular pieces (and the most challenging to create), but the results are worth it.
The dream store in which i would like to stock this design is… I haven’t really thought about it, but I would love to see my moon designs in weddings, as backdrops or even hanging between both the bride and the groom as they say their vows. That is a big, romantic dream of mine.
Which celebrity house can you see your design at… Possibly Kate Hudson’s house, I know how much she adores the moon.
If this design made it big, i would… Be over the moon! I’m not really sure what I would do. I think I’d be in complete shock and overjoyed with gratitude!
If this design could talk, it would say… I am here to represent growth, persistence, freedom, shelter and enlightenment.
Photo Credits: Shian Ellen