Isabella Strambio is a macrame artist, teacher, author and entrepreneur. She’ll be teaching macrame workshops at The Stitch Festival at the Business Design Centre, London from 23-26 March 2023.
Julie Parmenter – Isabella, you discovered a love of knotting in 2016, turning your back on corporate life to transform your passion for macrame into a successful business. You now work with other female makers and artists, helping them realise their dreams of doing the same. That must be incredibly rewarding work. Can you tell us more about that.
Isabella Strambio – I have a successful business because at the start I invested and surrounded myself with women that had walked a similar path before me. I had no idea how to run a creative business and I wanted to learn from women that understood the struggles of starting a side hustle in the kitchen, with a full-time job and a young family. In 2020, when I launched my group program after years of teaching macrame, it was something my students asked me: to share how I did it so they could do it too. It was my time to guide other women to find their creative voice and share it with the world. I am a big believer that all women are creative and empowering. A woman has a ripple effect on her family, community and society as a whole.
Julie Parmenter – Of course, you’re still a practicing artist, creating beautiful macrame designs, teaching workshops and writing best-selling books. What is it about macrame that you fell in love with all those years ago?
Isabella Strambio – I absolutely love the rhythm of making knots, it’s incredibly mindful. I call it ‘yoga for the mind’.
What is so special about this craft is the versatility. You can make almost anything in macrame: jewellery, home decor like wall hangings, rugs, hammocks, wedding decorations and much more. Lastly, it’s a craft that compliments many other fibre crafts like weaving, for example. The possibilities are limitless.
Julie Parmenter – In our time-pressured lives, opportunities to be creative can often fall by the wayside. What advice would you give to people wanting to make time to explore and reconnect with their creativity?
Isabella Strambio – I believe society is changing and women are recognising the benefit of self-care and prioritising what makes them happy. What’s fantastic about macrame is that you can spend even 10 minutes a day knotting to get the benefit of finding mindfulness, making and using your creativity. Like anything, prioritising what makes us happy will bring more joy in our lives.
Julie Parmenter – You found macrame when you set yourself a challenge to learn twelve crafts in twelve months which you documented in a blog, TwoMe. Which other crafts did you try and have there been any that you have revisited since?
Isabella Strambio – Macrame was my first one! Love at first sight. The other 11 crafts were: natural dyeing, weaving, lino cutting, screen printing, candle making, paper cutting, polymer clay, slow stitching, wreath making, tamari balls, and crochet. I regularly use natural dyeing with macrame. I love the magic that plants and food have on fibres. I love to crochet once in a while as well as weaving and candle making. I would say that I have gone back to most crafts occasionally except for paper cutting. I just don’t have the patience!
Julie Parmenter – Bespoke macrame commissions are a labour of love for you, creating unique pieces for clients’ homes or businesses. Can you tell us what makes this process so special?
Isabella Strambio – My commission pieces are my favourites because they are unique and have a special connection with the clients. I love to create something that speaks to them on so many levels, it’s more than just a beautiful item. It usually takes a few weeks to finalise the design and for me to get to know the person and their expectation. Building a trusting relationship is very important to have the best end result.
Julie Parmenter – We live in challenging economic times. Is the aspiration of turning a craft hobby into a business still achievable?
Isabella Strambio – I believe so. As a society, we have changed and progressed. Many people shop more consciously. They buy less but when they do, they want to buy quality items with a story. They actively look for handmade, locally produced, sustainable businesses. The challenge is to find the ideal clients that understand and appreciate your handmade work.
You can see Isabella Strambio's work at The Stitch Festival 23 - 26 March 2023, Business Design Centre, London