Remember when I started this challenge and was grumbling about November being miserable? Well, this is the weather I was talking about. It’s not just the wind and the rain either: it’s the snarled up traffic and the soul-less frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday: all that bulls**t that heralds the arrival of the ‘festive’ season.
So where better to head this wintry morning than Studio Souk on Ann Street, to meet crafter and workshop facilitator Alison Pascoe who creates beautiful macramé wall hangings and plant holders.
Alison has an eye for using space creatively. ‘Every home needs plants,’ she tells me. ‘They are the lungs and filter of the house, and with a few clever hanging tips, you can create another dimension to a room, regardless of size.’ With the addition of a curtain rail, she shows me how to hang a few potholders, and I see immediately how a space can easily be transformed.
It isn’t just physical space that can be enhanced either. The process of starting with a single strand, and the focus required to tie the knots to create macramé pieces, is mediative and therapeutic. I think I might have to jump aboard this trend: I could do with a bit of down time and distraction.
Alison is part of a collective of makers in Belfast who would like to cultivate a culture of skill-sharing. Starting In January she will be running more of her macramé workshops, which have proved extremely popular with hen-parties and groups celebrating birthdays. ‘People are keen to spend their time in different creative ways,’ she says. ‘Instead of shopping or nights out, groups want to gather and learn and chat, leaving with something that they’ve made themselves.’
You can read all about Alison’s products and workshops on www.astrlfibres.com. I’m definitely motivated to get knotting and invite some new energy into the house.