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FIBRE LOVER : Miriam Ragen

I can remember as early as 5 years old sitting at our big kitchen table at home cutting crepe paper to make flowers and other general crafts with my mum.

This was a regular occurrence in our household as we grew up in almost country (blue mountains) where we weren’t close to the beach or shops for entertainment. My mum was a really talented quilter and completed her sewing studies at Tafe in the 80’s when the course was still on offer. I was use to seeing her knit and sew and crochet and she often gave me little projects to do with scraps of wool or material so I could learn what she was doing.

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When I was a teenager and then a young adult I lost sight of these hands on crafts and focused on my career in visual merchandising and styling until one day I came across the weaving work of Australian fibre artist Natalie Miller. She was running workshops at Alexandria’s famous design hub Koskela. With my passion for fibre arts re-ignited I ended up doing a couple of Natalie’s classes…even an intermediate weaving class at her studio in picturesque Robertson south of Sydney. I loved weaving for its chance to handle rich hand dyed wools and experience the texture of raffia and cotton. This led to another class at Koskela in Macrame. A lot of people cringe at the idea of Macrame but the style I’ve adopted is so modern I hope it changes peoples perspectives a little when they see my work. At first I wasn’t that into it…maybe its because my hands were use to the repetitive back and forth method of weaving but once I realized the potential that rope has to make so many designs with only a few knots i have persisted and developed my own style. I am a modern macramé artist. As much as I appreciate traditional macramé and without it I wouldn’t have found this art, I am definitely not satisfied by knotting traditional style macrame myself.

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I am always looking for inspiration and new ideas to make designs that are original. I love working with chunky soft cotton ropes that are so tactile and textural in my hands. I find so much enjoyment in working on big pieces that make me feel small standing next to them. To be able to physically create something that is bigger than me is so exciting! I draw some inspiration from international modern Fibre artists like Belensenra and Tanya Aguiniga but really I try to make things that I would like to see in my own home. Like most stylists I have my favorites…i’m in awe of the work of Australian stylists Glen Proebstel, Karen McCartney and Kara Rosenlund who take advantage of the natural environment and its imperfections to put together beautiful textural images.

GET CREATIVE with Miriam at her upcoming macramé workshop on Saturday 28th May : Learn 5 knots to make and take home a large macrame plant hanger using soft cotton ropes. Click here to find out more and spot.

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