Rope and knot tying are extremely practical skills and can also be used in creative work, thanks to their versatility and variable applications. Personally, I have tried to make ropes to make friendship bracelets with classmates.
Hanisah Johari, the lead artist behind it Seasoning strings—The brand of his company, Condiment Studio — shared a similar experience during his childhood. Since then, his passion for string art has become massive macramé installations (the art of making rope knots in patterns to make decorative items) for weddings, home decor, workshops of string art and creative arts festivals.
Speaking to Vulcan Post, the former multimedia graduate revealed that it all started in her parents ’attic home.
Art in the attic
A few months after her marriage, Hanisah and her husband, Ahmad Syahmi, began their lives together by moving to their parents ’attic. The duo would spend their time making murals and paintings, collecting houseplants and creating different crafts together.
With a growing collection of indoor plants and limited space, they learned about plant hangers that could be made to organize them indoors. By sharing their designs online “just for fun,” their post received a lot of support, where interested shoppers asked to have them as well.
“After a few pieces, I gained confidence and joined our first local second hand market at APW Bangsar in 2017. During the market, we completely sold out our first batch of macramé wall hangers,” he recalled. Hanisah.
She described that event as the turning point that encouraged her to go further with this potential business, as she had found her true vocation.
The macramé artist soon became pregnant and realized that her new family would need more space to accommodate the newborn. This was his tipping point to finally launch Condiment Studio in 2018.
“We wanted to have a space and a place to continue creating more art together, showing the works, while we live and grow the family in the same environment,” Hanisah added.
So when they opened the studio, the 3-person family moved out of the attic and began their creative adventure in their new home that served as an office.
Pulling some ropes
Macramé is an art form with a long history behind it. Marins he made macramé objects while he was not busy at sea and sold them when they landed. Thus, they spread the art in places like Asia and America.
Its popularity would fade over the decades and it recently recovered as a trend for millennials, who like Hanisah, would use it to hang houseplants.
For the founder, her interest in creating macramé furniture and decor is sustained by the versatility in design and skill sets that seem endless. “My art is an exploration of texture, dimension and scale, in which traditional hand techniques, such as writing, pasting and weaving, are applied, to create expressive and fluid shapes,” he expressed.
Before sitting down to knot something together, Hanisah examined designs created by other artists, only to get some insights into how the piece might turn out. He would then begin to illustrate the composition of his vision for clients.
“I will usually be drawn to the elements of nature, also by the color gradients that evolve naturally around us, and I will express them on a canvas of natural cotton ropes,” he described.
Hanisah claimed that there were two essences that kept her going while weaving the cotton ropes: the proper sense of mind and positive thinking.
They were important, as self-doubt tends to cloud your mind the more time you spend on a design, as he confessed, “What usually goes through my mind as I attach them together is what pattern I should do next. “Will it turn out as I imagined? What if I make a mistake?”
“These are all mental games that usually fill my thinking space, trying to convince me that I can’t do it. To be really challenging to be honest ”.
However, with practice and care in creating the pieces, Hanisah is able to overcome her anxiety by accepting the results that her work can produce. “Because the most important thing is to be easy with myself, to embrace beauty in so many possible ways,” she told Vulcan Post.
A team of 2
Today, the team behind Condimentstrings is made up only of Hanisah and Syahmi. Depending on the size of the macramés they have been tasked with creating, the couple would hire a few more artists and friends to help them tie the strings.
Hanisah shared that most of her projects include wall decor, shop windows, wedding backdrops, along with large-scale facilities. So far he has made macramé installations commissioned by Oppo Malaysia (exhibited at Sunway Pyramid), Good Vibes Fest and Urbanscapes.
Of course, all of these facilities were produced in 2019, before COVID-19 stopped the events industry. Therefore, the 2 team is now focusing on interior design projects for the B2C market.
Hanisah’s short-term goal is also simple, sharing that she only hopes to continue surviving in such strange times. “On a serious note, one of my main goals is to be able to exhibit and work alongside international fiber artists to create a large-scale installation or artwork,” he added.
Featured Image Credit: Hanisah Johari and Ahmad Syahmi, co-founders of Condimentstrings