Meet the Maker

Show menu

Meet the Maker - We chatted to Macrame author Fanny Zedenius about how she got into crafting and what her advice would be to people starting out

6 Mar 2018 |

We are pleased to introduce you to the inspiring Fanny Zedenius author of the brilliant Macramé which we published last year. Fanny taught herself how to knot in 2014 and hasn’t stopped since, Instagraming her beautiful makes as she goes– which is how we found her! After taking a year out to travel the world she is back and ready to turn her knotting into a full-time business, at Createaholic. We caught up with her to see what advice she has for others, who she’s following and what she’s got coming up next.

Why macramé? How did you learn/who taught you how?

I have always been crafting or creating my whole life and I have mostly just taught myself, learning by doing. Every autumn I’d usually start a knitting project, then I’d get tired of that and move onto painting or drawing, then sewing and so on and so forth. When I discovered macramé in 2014 I found a very basic tutorial on Pinterest and made myself a plant hanger. After that I was completely hooked and made another one and then another one… At some point I think I realised that I wasn’t getting tired of this craft, and this both surprised me and made me really excited. I started knotting every day after work as a form of therapy because it became my way of winding down. Typically I can be a very stressed and anxious person, but macramé actually helped to reduce that side of me, more or less. I have talked to a lot of people who have experienced the same thing, and I find that to be one of the most amazing things about this craft!

What’s your favourite thing you’ve made?

That is almost impossible to say. Usually every single new piece I make becomes my new favourite! But if I had to pick one I think it would be a wall hanging I made as part of a collection called ‘Earthly Possessions’. The piece is called ‘Snowflakes’ and it is really intricate and I put a lot of love into it.

Who are your craft influences or idols?

In my view, Emily Katz from the United States and the amazingly talented mind behind Modern Macramé was the one who really started the macramé renaissance of the 21st century. So for many reasons she is one of the makers on Instagram I admire the most. Although I can’t remember for sure the first time I ever saw macramé, I am pretty sure it was a photo of a macramé tent that Emily had made. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

I also want to mention the following amazing and inspiring women: Katie Robbins of Ceramic Magpie, Samantha Leung of Hemleva, Nalani Gloor of Knottybloom, Andreia Gomez of LOOP weaving, Kira Gulley of Kira Gulley Art, Marion Rekersdrees of Rekersdrees Design and Lauren Strybos of From Tree To Sea. They are all amazing at their respective crafts and have managed to make their businesses really successful and professional. What they all have in common, besides being small business owners, is a love of (or obsession with) plants. Last year they invited me to join their small group called #leafladies which has been totally vital for me now that I work full time with Createaholic. There is so much to figure out in the beginning when starting your own small business that it can easily become pretty lonely all on your own. The group works as a kind of support team, we can ask each other’s advice and opinions if we get stuck, and we also do collaborations. Even though we’re spread across 7 countries it still feels like having colleagues and that is invaluable to me!

How do you decide what to name your projects?

Sometimes it just comes naturally; the piece has some feature that stands out and I pick a name that goes well with that. Like the dream catcher in my book that I named Eden because of it’s tree design. But sometimes it can take a while. In those cases, I usually sit down with my boyfriend Simon and discuss the design and we throw out some different names and ideas until I find something I think resonates with the piece!

If you weren’t crafting you would be…?

Probably finishing my master’s degree in International Relations with a focus on Gender and Development. I didn’t finish my final master thesis back in 2014 because I got a job at the Swedish National Committee for UN Women and if I wasn’t loving my job with Createaholic so much I would probably go back and finish it and then try to find work at an organisation I admire.

What tune gets you in your creative groove?

Oh that really varies! Right now I am listening to Snowmine – ‘Let me in’ on repeat. I also love the soundtrack from the TV series Big Little Lies. If I need a bit of an energy boost, I put on Imagine Dragons – ‘Thunder’. Whatever I’m listening to, the volume is turned up to max and I sing along at the top of my lungs. Luckily I am the only one in my building working from home on weekdays...!  

If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you?

This is going to sound ridiculous, but the first thing would probably be rope. I think it would be useful in so many ways, and since I work with rope every day I would probably be able to think of tons of ways to use it! Secondly, I guess a good knife would be very good… And then finally, I would bring Simon my boyfriend, if he can count as a ‘thing’ to bring. We travelled together across the world for a year and I feel that together we’d be able to cope with pretty much any situation and be able to get off the island (if we wanted to that is!).

Who should we be following on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / blogs?

Definitely my idols and influencers that I mentioned above. Another amazing macramé artist to follow is Ana Morais (Casulo). Her style is so beautiful and personal and she has a great eye for details.

I have recently dipped my toes into weaving, and some really amazing weavers to follow are Erin Barret of Sunwoven  and Lindsey Campbell of Hello Hydrangea.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to start a creative career?

First of all, start out small, one step at a time. It takes time to build an audience and a customer base, so you might want to start your business while still working at something else to guarantee you have an income. Also, put effort into taking quality photography from the beginning, and find your own personal style to set you apart from the thousands of others out there. Finding your own personal style takes time, but the most important thing is to avoid copying fellow makers and to just experiment to find out what you like and what makes your heart beat a little faster!

Secondly, don’t undervalue your work! If you want a career making handmade items, you will realise the true value of handmade goods. They take time and a lot of material costs. If you price your items too low in the beginning it will be difficult to increase your prices later on. You have to think about all the costs, not just the time it takes you to make the item and the material costs, but everything else; the time it takes photographing the item, editing photos and then listing it on your website, the costs of packing the item once it gets sold (both in material costs and time) and every little detail that goes into selling your item. And don’t forget the taxes and VAT!

Finally, find your tribe! You will need support of others around you in order to reach out to your audience, and this career gets so much easier if you can ask the advice of people who have gone through the same things that you are.

What’s next?

I am still in the beginning phase of working with Createaholic full-time and I am slowly getting the hang of daily routines and how to make my work profitable and sustainable. I spent the first few months sourcing quality ropes in order to be able to offer a wide range of premium DIY supplies. Next on the agenda is to put together individual DIY patterns for different macramé projects. They will be like an extension of my book and will be perfect for anyone who has already finished all the projects in Macramé. This will be ideal for those still keen to follow my patterns and simultaneously perfect for those who are new to macramé and want to dip their toes in!

If this has inspired you to try the art of macramé, then go here for a project from Fanny's brilliant book, Macramé 

Macramé  by Fanny Zedenius is available now from good shops that sell books and online from Amazon and Waterstones