Colour your dreams with handmade Maldivian Macramé art.
Peak behind the palm fronds to discover how macramé artist, Zin, is forging her own path by creating beautiful handmade macramé art, following her passion and colouring dreams of women who purchase her art.
Let’s set the scene…
Sparkling azure waters, powdery white sands, luxe overwater bungalows… the Maldives… a heavenly travel and honeymoon destination!
However, take a peek behind the palm fronds, and you will discover over half a million locals residing amongst the tourist cohort.
What you might not know is that the locals rely heavily on the tourism industry… in fact, 50% of the Maldivians income has come from tourism over the past 50 years. Which was why it was so devastating when COVID-19 began to spread, tourism came to a screeching halt and it was women who were the first to lose their jobs and return to their rural communities.
Despite this recent setback, the country is making progress in improving women’s rights in the Maldives. Women have made strides for gender parity in education and are building a sense of empowerment through financial security.
One of these women we are delighted to introduce you to is Zin. Zin was born and raised on the rural islands of the Maldives. After finishing school Zin studied her undergraduate Marketing degree in Singapore. The recent lockdowns in Maldives were actually a blessing in disguise for Zin. Zin was able to refocus on her artistic passion and create her own financial independence with the creation of her business; @something.knotty.”
When did you start creating macramé art?
“I started making bracelets and other things from rope for as long as I can remember, it’s something that has stuck with me from my childhood and throughout my life.”
“I always had a keen interest in creativity and arts as a child. I used to collect beads, charms, and codes from used items and clothes to make my own crafts and bracelets. Since then, I really wanted to start my own business. I wanted to show the world what I could do.”
“Of course when I started making my art with rope, I didn’t realise it was macramé art, I saw it as my form of self-expression and my creative outlet.”
What challenges did you face creating macramé art in the Maldives?
“As I grew up in the rural area of Maldives, there were barely any materials for me to actually start making the art I wanted to create. But that all changed when I was provided the opportunity to pursue my marketing degree in Singapore, I could finally get my hands on Macramé rope! Then luckily later, when online deliveries to Maldives became more popular, I was able to order my own materials for projects.”
How do you create macramé art?
“Every single macramé piece needs a lot of love and time for them to turn out as perfectly as I want them to be, I think this is one of the main reasons why I wasn’t able to focus on my craft until the COVID-19 lockdowns. During the pandemic I was able to make macramépieces day and night.”
“There is something soothing about working with my hands, if I have a bad day, I soothe myself by making my macramé. With the tying of each knot, there is a certain satisfaction and when the art piece all comes together, it is rewarding. I love it!”
“Each piece I make with patience and love, and I think people can see that when I’ve finished it.”
“I also love knowing that I create macramé pieces that brighten and colour other people’s home and spaces and allow people who see the art to dream. That is the true spirit of my macramé art, and is what I want the collection I’ve pulled together for HerParade to represent.”
What have been the challenges of creating a business in the Maldives?
When I created my business @something.knotty, I felt it was a natural progression for me. But to be totally honest, it has been hard. Because of COVID-19 many people who would normally buy my art, didn’t have any disposable income any longer, and there has been no tourists, so it’s been very quiet, I hope it changes soon.
In Maldives we don’t have access to sell on international online platforms like Etsy or eBay. Shipping to and from the country is also very expensive.
What does the future hold for @something.knotty?
Whether my art is sold or not, I will continue to make it, and I’m always coming up with new designs and ideas.
My dream is to open up my own studio in the future, can you imagine… a dreamy macraméstudio next to the shiny Maldivian beaches!?
Of course we are extremely grateful for tourists, and I hope we can welcome them back soon.
Now onto the Maldives culture – what is your favourite Islamic holiday?
I would say EID is my favourite festivity in Maldives. We usually get about 5 days of holidays in a row where friends, family, neighbours and other members of the community come around to celebrate.
Everyone prepares an abundance of tasty food, inviting family, friends and neighbours for breakfast and lunch. Evenings are mostly for celebrations and activities.
We also have a native tradition, which entails BoduMas (a woven coconut palm fish) and Maali (people dressed up as ghosts) who come out and dance to the rhythm of BoduBeru (local drums) and parade through the island in celebration.
During EID holidays we take time to travel to other islands, countries and visit our families back at home. It’s really a time filled with a lot of joy and happiness.
To support women forging their own paths in the Maldives and assist in creating financial gender parity, you can purchase one of Zin’s stunning handmade macramé pieces. Simply follow this link and you will be taken to a selection of gorgeous products.
Thank you for your support.
Mira and HerParade x