When, in casual conversation, I bring up the subject of macramé, those who are ‘of an age’ will smile, chuckle and recall candle wax dripping down the sides of a green wine bottle wrapped in hemp macramé or visualize an air fern hanging in a south facing window.
So when you see the sophisticated work from Dawn Standera and her fellow knotting artists, the dramatic difference in aesthetic will be apparent. It’s a completely new world waiting for you.
Dawn Standera from Bemidji, Minnnesota (where lately it’s been so cold that even Paul Bunyan warms his toes by the fire), is called a macramé enabler by her good friend Karen-lisa Forbes for her passionate encouragement and promotion of her love of tying knots into colorful, artistic sculpture.
Dawn says she was never interested in craft of any form until she saw her first Cavandoli-style macramé bracelet while walking through a street fair in Mexico. She says it was as if time stopped and since then she has been devoted to learning as much as possible about making knotted pieces and promoting the art of knotting.
Her quest to gain knowledge and become a master in knotting encompasses travel and mentorships with knotting artists who are icons in the world of macramé. In 2007, Dawn applied for and received a grant from Minnesota’s Region 2 Arts Council to travel to Mexico so she could spend time learning about traditional Central American ways of knotting.
In 2013, she was awarded another Region 2 Arts Council grant to study dimensional knotting with Norman Sheffield, who is a member of the LA Knotters group. Mr. Sheffield, who has been a part of this California macramé community for over 20 years and a frequent exhibitor, allowed Dawn to make video tutorials of his techniques for the benefit of future students. Dawn feels strongly that the accumulated knowledge from this group and others needs to be preserved and passed on for the continued renaissance of this craft.
The work of promoting macramé is collaboration as well. Several years ago, Dawn launched Macramé Collective which is a window into the world of macramé artists. Featuring eleven artists, the site includes a gallery of their work, Dawn’s blog of activities and the Norman Sheffield tutorials. Clicking through the galleries is worth the time spent! The variations in style, function and color of the work is extensive especially since according to Dawn, “…all the work you see on this site is done with three simple knots.” Sometimes called hand weaving, weaving off the loom, or finger weaving, the knots are half hitch, overhand and lark’s head. www.macramecollective.com
Knotting, as a craft, has a low barrier for entry. Light in the need for equipment, the only requirements are knotting cord materials. And Dawn has had influence here, too. Knotmore, Inc. celebrates its first anniversary this month! www.knotmore.com Knotmore, whose tagline cleverly says, “string theory you can grasp” is the already a market share leader in knotting cord sales. Knotmore carries every color of waxed and unwaxed Brazilian cord available. 75 colors is a good place to start.
Closer to home in the north woods, Dawn will be the featured artist at the Cabin Coffeehouse in Bemidji, Minnesota throughout February, 2014. She will also speak to a group of enthusiasts at the Baudette Library on January 22, 2014. Baudette is located along the Rainy River at the US-Canadian border. Contrast that with her two speaking engagements in Florida! Dawn will present “Are You Knot Aware?” to both the Sarasota Sculptural Design Guild and the West Palm Beach Fiber Guild this year as well.
In her continued study of expression through macramé, Dawn has moved from knotting jewelry to knotting tapestry. Her style emulates the South American tradition of little or no embellishment. The colors show the joy of her thoughts as she is absorbed and totally present in her work.
Dawn was also featured in the Winter 2013 Issue of Fiber Art Now magazine.