on passion projects & creative challenges

Meet Maggie May, a Macramé maker, graphic designer, stylist and shop-owner in Melbourne, with a strong focus on nurturing and supporting local community.

What’s your creative outlet? Where did it come from?

Macramé! I discovered it when an old housemate’s girlfriend made two little plant hangers in our old home. I saw them and was immediately drawn the craft and started researching it and looking at all the Macramé online that I could see. I’d walk into op-shops and go straight to the ‘craft’ book section and buy anything I could find on Macramé.

What does your typical ‘day in the life’ look like?

I don’t really have a ‘typical’ day. My life is pretty variable and I’m constantly doing different things. I try and make Macramé everyday, that’s really tricky when I balance working a part time job and maintain a social life. I can get quite bad anxiety when I don’t feel like I’m in control of my life and Macramé is a wonderful way for me to ‘check back in’ with myself and remember that it’s all going to be ok. Living a creative life doesn’t have a roadmap and that is absolutely terrifying.

I know that if I just take things one day at a time and keep working towards small goals then I’ll be creatively fulfilled and challenged.

How do you deal with those feelings? What removes your creative block?

I listen to music, watch documentaries, go for walks, visit art galleries, hang out with my friends, chat to other creative people and get out of the house. I know if I’m working on a big Macramé piece that there will be moments in it where I’ll be frustrated by my own abilities or I’ll start judging myself too harshly.

An important thing to remember is that you have to be kind to yourself and not force things to happen. It’s easy to confuse ‘working hard’ with forcing yourself to create, if I feel frustrated or anxious I stop what I’m doing and have a cup or tea or take a break from what I’m doing.

“Living a creative life doesn’t have a roadmap and that is absolutely terrifying.”

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve overcome while pursuing your passion?

Learning to listen to critique from people. I still struggle with this every day. I’m a very emotional person and put 100% of myself into everything I do. Learning to accept critique as a gift rather than something to negatively dwell on is a hard lesson. We can always learn more and expecting yourself to get everything right all the time is unrealistic. We’re human, we make mistakes and we learn by doing. There is a whole world of people out their with their own life experiences and expectations.

What about the most rewarding?

When I finished my first really big Macramé wall backdrop. It used over 500 meters of rope and it was the most rope I’d ever cut. It also really affirmed that I didn’t want to use pre decided patterns with my work and that following my creativity to improvise whilst creating was more rewarding. All my work is improvised. I don’t use patterns or decide what I want to do prior to making something. I have 900 meters of rope on the wall in my studio at the moment that is being knotted into a massive wedding arch, I’m excited to see how I feel at the end of that!

Follow @middleaisle for all things macrame, or visit @thinkthornbury for locally made and ethically produced products, workshop series and creative events.