Charlotte Yard of Mad About Macrame
This month I interviewed Charlotte Yard from @madaboutmacrame
I stumbled across Charlottes Instagram page about a year ago. I fell in love with her unique designs and use of bright colors. I was so inspired to see another mom juggling home life, macrame and plant life. I mean I can’t even keep 1 plant alive.
Charlotte is super inventive and unique with her designs, creating anything from beautiful mix media embroidery pieces to a macrame Minecraft creeper. You never know what she will come up with next. If you want to See more of Charlottes work, go check out her page @madaboutmacrame
Tell me about yourself, name, where you live, do you have any children?
My name is Charlotte Yard and I live in North Lincolnshire in the UK, with my husband of 5 years Arron, who I've known since I was 8! I have three children Elise 8, Rupert 5 and Stanley 2 and a naughty beagle called maisy.
What's your craft and how did you first get into it?
My small business is called Mad About Macrame...so you guessed it, I'm a macrame artist! I've always been into craft and I've tried pretty much everything you can try but it wasn't until I found macrame that I felt like I was really good at something. I'd been looking at house décor because me and my husband had bought our first home, and I fell in love with the boho style and all the macrame that goes with it. I ordered some cord, gave it a go and here I am 2 years later! Recently I have been dabbling with weaving and mixed media embroidery, so I'm excited to explore those further in the future.
I saw you like natural dyes,do you have a favorite and what's the process?
I LOVE natural dye! it's such a rewarding and calming process. My favorite so far is avocado (it gives the most beautiful pink hue with minimal effort) but I also love using old used tea bags! Taking something that is going to the bin and using it for something beautiful gives me the best feeling. With avocados you can use the skin and the stone, just make sure you've cleaned off the green flesh first. Dying with tea is basically like stewing a big cuppa!
Natural dying is really quite simple. You use a large pan (preferably one that you won't use for cooking) and gently heat the plant you want to use for about an hour in just enough water. Cover it then leave it to sit over night. Strain the plant out of the liquid, pour it back to the clean dye pot and you're good to go! You can add your pre-treated material and gently heat again until you get the depth of color you want. The longer you leave it to soak the better the color. I've found a lot of great natural dyers on Instagram who have books all about natural dyes and pre-treating your fabric.
As a mom of 3 myself, I know how hard it is to juggle business and home life. how do you divide your time up? do you have any tips for crafting moms?
Now that's a tough one! It's something I haven't quite mastered just yet. I used to be really good at this when Stanley was younger because he was less mobile, but now he's walking and talking (and throwing the mother of all tantrums) I've found my time during the day is consumed by house work and kids. I try and do a big clean of the house on Mondays and Saturdays so that I have more time to dedicate to my work during the week. I start off my week by making a big to-do list and I try and tick a couple of items off a day. It can be stressful, especially when I have a lot of orders or large custom piece but I just try my best. If I rush, I find more things go wrong or my work isn't up to the standard it needs to be.
My best tip for crafting mums is to set a timer for 30 minutes whilst the kids are playing or napping, then do a chunk of work for that whole time. If I work for longer than that, the kids get restless or if they're napping I fail to eat and sit down. Then before I know it they're up again and I'm hungry, stressed and tired, which isn't fun!
What's your favorite material to work with and is there a material that you haven't used yet but would like to try?
I love using natural 3ply cotton because it's such a versatile material and it knots up really well.
Recently I got some recycled sari silk and some banana yarn which were really interesting to work with. I used them to make a weave but I'd love to incorporate them into my macrame work.
I love adding natural elements such as driftwood and sea shells where I can. I'd also love to get some sea glass but I don't live near the sea and its quite expensive to buy online!
Do you have any hobbies outside of your craft?
My second love to fiber art is PLANTS! I have a lot of house plants and nothing makes me happier than tending to them and watching them grow.
Other than that, I really like DIY! I have a really handy dad who can fix almost everything and he's really good at wood work. I love giving him a hand when it comes to fixing something. We've slowly been doing up our house and I've been learning how to fit skirting boards, coving. More recently I learnt how to use a jigsaw!
When you was young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I never really knew what i wanted to do, but i've always been creative.
I used to do all different types of dance and I did my work experience with my dance teacher which was a lot of fun.
When it came to college, I very nearly went for a brick laying apprenticeship but I chickened out at the last minute. If I could do it all over again, I would train to be a joiner!
What was the first account on instagram that inspired you and which one inspire you now?
There are so many fantastic accounts, i dont think i can remember who was the first one to inspire me but i definitely have a few favorites now.
@unfetteredco - Janis is such a lovely lady and her work is so different to the usual macrame you see.
@wanderingcoastcollective - Jennifer is a kind-hearted soul who has had such a lot to deal with in the past year. Her work is breathtaking, unique and inspiring!
@hand_and_fiber - Asmaa combines different fabrics with her ceramic work to create awe inspiring pieces! She also posts great videos, so you can give different techniques a try. She definitely played a big part in why I picked up a loom recently!
What would be your dream project?
I always wanted to make a really large piece, last year I made a massive macrame curtain! I'd love to make another large custom piece, something that is a little different.
I'd also love to work with a garden center or a florist shop to stock my plant hangers, they are by far my favorite things to make!
Professionally, what is your goal?
My goal was to have a Etsy shop and I really cant believe I've done it!
The next step for me is to push myself out of my comfort zone and teach a workshop, which hopefully I will achieve sometime this year.
I've been working hard on my website and blog, I'd just really love to grow my business so that when Stanley starts pre-school next year I can spend my time creating.