Thursday, November 19, 2009

Studies in Crap: The itchy, whiskery horror of macrame

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 6:00 AM

Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

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Creating With Macrame

Author: Suzanne Stiles

Date: 1971

Publisher: American Handcrafts

The Cover Promises: Wookie-hair jellyfish!

Representative Quote:

"Macrame is the ONLY craft and art form that has been practiced in EVERY civilization throughout history."

Your Crap Archivist has nothing against most of the hobbies his mother has taken up over the years: scrap books, shadow-boxes, the contemplation of Oprah's favorite things. But I always found her macrame abominable. That thready wheat Chex of a purse! Those coarse plant hangers braided of twine and whiskers, still the most effective pet-hair accumulators known to science!

Still, when I somehow forced my eyes to look upon Suzanne Stiles' Creating With Macrame, mom's handiwork leapt in my esteem. Turns out, she hadn't botched those projects. No, even in the early '70s -- an era that was to the square-knotting of fuzzy thread what the late '50s were to stealing the black man's music -- macrame tended toward the hideous.

Take this Silly String tribute to the nervous system.



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Still, author Stiles claims "There are no hard, fast rules in the expressive techniques of Macrame, and very few limitations." In my experience, this is false. One rule seems to be "Macrame owls should look like ZZ Top beards with beads for eyes." As for macramé being a medium without limitations, I believe she means aesthetics.

This thing, for example, answers the age-old question: What would Willie Nelson's hair look like hanging on the wall at a Long John Silver's?

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Note the eager young man, the one who treats his vests in a paper-shredder. Does he think it's a harp?

Many macrame projects suggest our most profound terrors, such as this kajillion-eyed spider scarf.



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Here's just the handbag if your prom is themed "Cthulhu".

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The designers behind Creating With Macrame naturally assumed women like my mother were members in good standing of unholy cults. To that end, they demonstrate that macrame is versatile enough to lend ambiance to all your horrible summonings.



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Even the most brooding, lobotomized of cult members can still serve two masters: your dark gods and Dame Fashion.



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Ah, Monkey's Fists. You would have been a fantastic name for a shot, a chocolate, a wrestling move, an act of self-abuse, or a school of kung fu. How did you get stuck with knots?

Highlight:

Not since Chocolate Fantasies has your Crap Archivist been so scarred by a craft book. Fortunately, by the 80's, the macrame leviathan had sunk back to its proper depths, where it joined other '70s fads like takin' it easy, concept records about armadillo-tanks, and an effective EPA.

And speaking of Wookie-hair: did you know that Chewbacca's homeworld is named Kashyyyk, presumably after either its most popular funk band or condom?

And did you know that Kashyyyk has tour guides?

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The mighty Studies in Crap e-mail list updates you whenever a new SiC post hits. Sign up at studiesincrap@pitch.com.

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