A couple of years ago, I was searching for a macramé plant hanger. Back in my Mother Earth days in the 1970s, I would have quite handily made my own. Having not used those knot-tying skills for decades, I thought it much easier to have someone else do the crafting.
I selected the hanger that I wanted on Etsy, a popular Internet site for handcrafted items, and patiently waited for its arrival — all the way from Romania. I imagined the macramé artist busily knotting plant hangers in her East European home and shipping them all over the world – a much different scenario than back in the ’70s when every crafty person was learning to create with knots and cords.
It was with interest that I saw on Instagram some intricately beautiful macramé wall hangings being done right here in Mazama out of Little Larch Studio. I had to know more about the craftsperson, Megan Leedom. She obliged to meet up with me and bring along one of her pieces.
As I have always believed, every person has a story. Turns out Megan’s story goes far beyond macramé. Her passion is long-distance hiking (as in not less than 1,000 miles!) on numerous trails all over the world. With her planned summer forestry job canceled due to COVID, she joined some friends hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) last summer. This would be her second time on the trail.
Megan and her trail family made the customary SoBo (southbound) stop in Mazama with a respite at the local PCT cabin, Ravensong. As is the common denominator of most everyone who settles in the Methow, she was captivated by the diverse beauty and access to the activities she loves.
Onward bound, the troupe’s plan was thwarted by the horrific wildfires in California and the closure of the PCT. Not to have their plans foiled, they moved eastward to the Arizona National Scenic Trail, an 800-mile trek from Southern Utah to the U.S.-Mexico border. The route offers a spectacular display of deserts, mountains, canyons, and wilderness.
So, after that trek, how did Megan end up in Mazama creating macramé pieces? A friend of her Portland, Oregon, family with connections to Wesola Polana & Rolling Huts knew she was footloose and offered her a job at Woodstone Pizzeria. So, she came – in mid-January with the pandemic in full swing. Not yet acquainted with anyone, she nestled in on the dark, cold, snowy days of winter and tied knots.
Megan first took up macramé when she spent a summer in Stehekin. With no distractions, i.e., digital devices, she took up the craft, which first appeared in carvings by the Babylonians and Assyrians. Arab and Turkish weavers knotted excess thread to add fringes along the edges of hand-loomed fabrics.
The craft traveled to Spain and Italy during the Moorish conquest and became most popular in the Victorian era. Sailors, adept at tying knots, made macramé items while idle at sea. The popularity faded away for many years, but resurged in the 1970s — my heyday — and died down in the 1980s.
Megan describes her style as mid-century modern or Scandinavian — crisp, clean lines and colors, in contrast to the Bohemian style that I visualize as the knotted pieces used in doorways by many hippies back in the day. Some of her pieces are quite large; the current one that she is tying for Salt Creek Apothecary in Wenatchee is 5 feet by 7 feet. She prefers what she calls free-styling, making each of her pieces unique.
Megan’s pieces can be seen when Poor Man’s Plants opens in Twisp and at Confluence Gallery’s May exhibit entitled “American Craft: We The People.” Feel free to contact Megan regarding custom pieces on her Instagram account @littlelarchstudio or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also say hi to her at Woodstone Pizzeria most days and order pizza!