Social media and the Jax art scene seem to go hand-in-hand. This rings true for local artist Jessica Ryckman whose macramé pieces popped up in my Instagram feed in early July. I asked Ryckman a few questions about her brand-new project “The Cat Unraveled” to understand how these creative wall pieces came to be.
Where did the name “The Cat Unraveled” come from?
Jessica: “My cat, Guinness, is one of the more precious things in my life. Cats love yarn, rope and all sorts of string. I’ve been watching him unravel my work long before I began creating macramé pieces, so the name was a natural fit for this new passion project of mine.”
How would you describe your project and work as a macramé artist?
“I would describe The Cat Unraveled as boho, but modern and affordable. I derive inspiration from just about anywhere, from patterns and objects that appear in a typical day-to-day lifestyle, but I’m always pushing myself to think outside the box and be creative. I’m working on different arrangements of knots to resemble fall leaves and pumpkins as we speak!”
Your Instagram bio says you are self-taught. How and when did you start making macramé? Did you start in other forms of craft/art and transition into macramé?
“I love to crochet! I was taught by my grandmother when I was only 7 years old, so my love for fiber art began at a very young age. But truly, I have a connection to all forms of art. I was raised by my single mother who was an artist in college, so art has always been in my blood. It wasn’t until college when my friends would say, ‘you’re really artistic,’ that it started to settle in, and I’d think, ‘oh, ok, kind of like my Mom,’ and once I understood that I could make things with my hands that bring other people peace and happiness, I decided I would never stop making — no matter the craft.
Macramé actually came recently. I wanted a very large and intricate piece over our bed — and when I checked out Etsy, I realized that they are expensive! After admiring a lot of other artists’ work, I couldn’t find a piece that was exact to what I envisioned, and I figured I’d give it a go and try to make my own. I began to practice by making smaller pieces, and little by little, my friends wanted me to make them something custom. More and more custom orders came in, and that being said, The Cat Unraveled was born. Needless to say, I have yet to make the piece that will go over our bed, but it’s coming sometime soon! I’m lucky that I’ve been so busy with new clients and their pieces.”
You recently had a pop-up show at Town Beer Co. in Murray Hill, how did it go? Do you have any more upcoming events?
“My pop-up at Town Beer Co. was a fantastic learning experience, and it went really well! The owners of Town are so focused on the community, and love helping local artists be recognized. I really hadn’t started to entertain the idea of selling to the community yet. I imaged it would be something that would happen in the long-run. After showcasing my work on Instagram for only a few weeks, Town reached out to me (on my birthday!) to hold a pop-up, and I’m so glad they did.
Now, I’ll be at the Avondale Art Walk on August 10 from 5 to 9 p.m., and hopefully every second Thursday of each month for after that for this event. Soon, I will be applying for other local markets, so stay tuned for more market announcements on my Instagram!”
How can we go about purchasing your macramé? What is your usual price range for custom pieces?
“My pieces can be found on Etsy, or can be made by way of a custom order. I love working on custom orders — when a client is describing the size and style of a piece they have in mind, I love being able to run with it. Macrame can be delicate in the knotting style, it can be tribal and strong in its pattern or it can be abstract and asymmetrical in appearance. My Etsy shop is about to be packed with a lot more designs this week, so if you’re more of a see-it-and-buy-it kind of person, keep checking for new listings!
My small pieces run six inches to 12 inches in length and width, for $10 to $28. My medium pieces run 12 inches to 30 inches, from $34 to $66. My large pieces run three feet to five feet (or more if you’d like a custom order) for $123+.”
Be sure to catch up with “The Cat Unraveled” at the Avondale Art Walk and don’t forget to follow her Instagram for updates on new pop-ups, designs and pieces for purchase.
All photos provided by Jessica Ryckman