Today I’m sharing an interview that I’m very excited about! (Well ok I’m excited about all of them, because it’s just so fun to hear about other’s experiences!) This interview is with Cindy Bokser of Niroma Studio who is a very talented macramé artist. That’s right we’re talking macramé today and trust me you’ll love it because Cindy makes the loveliest things (& she is super nice too!). Ok, so let’s get to know Cindy…
How did you first come across macramé?
I first came across macramé as a little girl. My mom dabbled in fiber art just before I was born. So growing up, I can remember playing with a little pink macramé purse that had small reddish, wooden beads on it that she made. And I remember there being this half finished weaving on a loom in the corner of our living room – very ‘70s John Denver – a hilly, army green and mustard yellow landscape scene with a burnt orange sun setting in the background. She never taught me how to weave or do macramé though. I picked that up on my own, and she is still marveling at how life seems to be coming full circle for her.
What time of day do you feel most creative?
I feel most creative in the morning, around 10 am, after coffee and a bagel and when the kids are out of the house. I used to be a night owl, but since having kids, they get me up at dawn so I’ve had to make some adjustments.
I always have some background noise, but what that is changes depending on my mood. Standup comedy has been a great kickstarter lately, and I’ve basically listened to all the comedy specials on Netflix. When I’m really in the groove on a piece and want to go on a 5-hr ‘knotting bender,’ I go with trance or house music all the way. I will always and forever be a Tiesto lover.
Are you a messy creative or an organized creative?
Oh, definitely a messy creative. I hate that about myself, and I definitely feel better when things are neat and clean, but I just can’t stay on top of it. I have deadlines, priorities and two toddlers, so cleaning and organizing takes a backseat more often than I’d like to admit. One thing I’m able to do that a lot of people aren’t is work through the mess. I can visually tune it out so I’m still able to focus on my work. And I barely ever plan a piece in advance. In the past, I’ve tried sketching it out, but that never turns out well for me. Everything I make happens as it’s happening or because it’s somewhere in my mind’s eye.
A lot of my ideas start with the customer. To clarify, I have a ton of ideas and plans to make varied designs in my head, but I only have the time to realize them when a customer or client comes along and gives me free reign, or just a slight bit of direction based on their space and personality but ultimately trusts that I’ll make something beautiful. And that’s when I end up creating the work I love the most or am most proud of. Those are always the pieces that challenge me the most – and instill some fear – because I use those opportunities to stretch myself and my skills, or learn a new technique, and oftentimes that happens by accident because I allow the materials to guide knot or the placement.
Do you have a preferred material that you like to use?
Most of my macramé work is created with some sort of cotton – either rope or string – which I love because I know what it will do and what it will look like. It’s comfortable. But I recently made a large scale freeform piece using thick wool art yarn, strips of leather, unraveled rope, wool roving, and silk ribbon, and it opened up pathways and knotting techniques I’d never used before and just taught myself on the spot using trial and error. It was a macramé/weaving combo and it’s one of my most favorite pieces to date.
Being a maker is so incredibly important to me. I was a publicist for ten years while my hands kind of wasted away, and finding fiber art basically saved me. I had a revelation while I was in Marfa, Texas for work, touring the Judd Foundation and Chinati Foundation, really getting inside the mind of Donald Judd and it just came to me: I need to start making shit with my hands. I think the day after I returned home from that trip, I went online, watched a bunch of YouTube videos, made a DIY frame loom and created my first weaving, which put me on a path to find macrame. Now, making is my whole life. My kids and my art. I’m so fortunate that Niroma Studio has become a full time business, and it’s the thing that drives me to push myself – as a maker and as an entrepreneur. It’s what fulfills me the most and gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment, which I had not felt for a long time before finding this craft.
What advice do you have for those wanting to find their own style?
My advice for those looking to find their own style is to explore and try everything at least once. Especially when you’re just starting out, emulating others is a way to learn techniques. But once you’ve become somewhat versed with the craft, go out on your own and experiment without looking at other people’s work. Look at what’s around you and really SEE. Open your eyes to the things that inspire you: nature, architecture, details in a beautiful photo, color palettes, city lights, visual art, etc. After a bit of practice, some designs will just speak to you and you’ll want to make them over and over again, and some you’ll never want to make again. Those aren’t losses, those are learning experiences. And while I do believe we are always learning, I do think there is a point when you go from beginner to intermediate. At that point, push yourself, your hands and your mind, so that you’re not directly copying work you’ve seen – eventually you’ll come to a point when you’ll have a style that’s yours, that you can own and build upon. I actually try to avoid browsing #macrame on Instagram because I think sometimes inadvertently those designs seep into the subconscious and can come out in the work. So, I know it’s hard, but try to stop browsing!
Are you a eat in or take out person?
Eat in – I cook almost every night. Shout out to Blue Apron!
If you could pick your last meal what would it be?
Wellfleet oysters with a dirty martini, a juicy bone-in rib-eye steak with a big glass of pinot noir, and tres leches for dessert. The alcohol in this scenario is pretty important!
What is your favorite color and why?
Impossible. I love too many of them. I’ve never been able to answer this question.
This is so embarrassing and pathetic, but I basically fall asleep now trying to get through either one, but at one time in my life I was a huge book worm AND a movie buff. I really enjoyed the last novel I read, written by my friend Vanessa Garcia, called White Light, about a Cuban American artist based in Miami trying to navigate the art world.
Do you prefer relaxing beach vacations or on the move sight-seeing vacations?
I enjoy the combination of both. These non-specific answers actually reveal a lot about my personality. I’m kind of a chameleon and could exist anywhere. Even though I’m a city girl, my favorite thing to do, other than macramé, is ride horses. So any vacation where I could do that would be ideal.
- Website: www.niromastudio.com
- Blog: www.niromastudio.com/blog -> So fun to read!!
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/niromastudio
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/niromastudio
What a great story of how Cindy found macramé and completely changed her career path, it’s really inspiring. Also that is so cool that Cindy’s mom had also made macramé before! I really love the tradition that comes with fiber arts! My own grandmother used to knit, crochet, and embroider all the time, so I like to think my love of fiber came from her.
Isn’t Cindy’s work so good?! And I love that she makes a large array of items from hammocks to wedding arches and pretty much everything in between. Which is your favorite piece of Cindy’s? Do you have a family history of fiber lovers? I’d love to hear who and what they would make.
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