Traveling is not just about visiting the new places and knowing new cultures but also to meet new people and learn new things from them. My journeys have exposed me to some interesting artists and their artworks. Another such artwork, which perhaps I would never become familiar with if not travelling, was Macrame. As far as I remember, my first conscious encounter with the term macrame was at New Lucky Cafe of Rishikesh where a Nepali guy, named Kapil, used to give macrame lessons. For some unknown reasons I had assumed that macrame was the name for some very sophisticated technique based fine paintings. Although I had developed a good friendship with Kapil, I never showed any interest to know about the art he was master of. But it was only because of that familiarity with the term Macrame that when I came in contact with an another Macrame artist, named Clemence, at Pushkar of Rajasthan, I inescapably developed an interest to know about the art which I had missed at Rishikesh.
During my month long summer stay at Pushkar, Clemence was the only another long term off season guest at the Shankar Palace/ Ramues cafe. Clemence, a young lady of french nationality, was living in a room on the other side of the small roofless central ground of Shankar Palace. While sometimes she used to work with the paper and pencil at entrance of her room, some other times she used to click the photos of some bracelets, necklaces with the leaves and barks of floras of the Shankar palace as background objects.
From the daily conversations during the late evening gatherings, which were joined not only by the guests and the owners of guest house but also by some new friends of Pushkar, at the central roofless ground of the Shankar Palace, I came to know more about Clemence. She was a traveler and macrame artist. Although she used to speak less, either because of habit or limited English vocabulary, she patiently elaborated about the Macrame and her journey with that art. Interestingly the word Macrame is most probably of Arabic or Turkish origin. Macrame is a textile art of linking the threads exclusively by the knotting techniques. It was the first time that I became familiar with the difference between otherwise inter-related terms like Knotting, weaving and knitting. Although the cords and the ways of linking them by knotting techniques are the only essential elements to label a craft as Macrame artwork, the inclusion of some more objects, like stones, could take the creations to different levels of creative expressions. In Clemence’s work, perhaps I was more captivated by the stones and fossils than the threads and the knotting techniques.
Clemence learnt that art from Colombia while travelling and staying in South America for 3 years. There she used to craft and sell the products on streets. Over the course of her journey that art turned as her main profession and she also started selling the macrame jewellery in some markets of France. The moment I met her, she also had her online shop by the name of Tierrachakana at http://www.etsy.com . The influence of her time in Latin America was still visible as most of the raw material like stones and threads were from Latin American countries. While most of the stones were from Mexico, the waxed polyester cords, special for macrame jewelry, were from Brazil. However, during her time in India, she had got many of the stones from Jaipur Market.
Despite of having a great opportunity of taking my macrame experience to next level by learning some basics of that art from Clemence, my experience got stuck with just a conceptual understanding of that textile art. During my first ever visit for Pushakar valley, I was more involved in knowing the place and some of its unique cultures and so could not think towards taking any practical lessons from her. I believe that the experience which got initiated with Kapil and Clemence would go to next level and someday I would learn and be able to create some thing on my own.
The latest updates of Clemence’s work can be found on her facebook page Tierrachakana
She also has her online shop at https://www.etsy.com/in-en/shop/tierrachakana