A Macrame Workshop at the Barn in Tivoli
White cotton rope hung beautifully from the rafters at The Barn in Tivoli in preparation for the Macrame Wall Hanging workshop, taught by the talented Emily Katz. Together in this rustic setting, we gathered with twenty women to create and connect. As the students arrived, it was clear that this day was going to be something special. Local dishes, prepared by Jo Rectra Cogan, were set out, highlighting hand-picked fruits and vegetables from Montgomery Place Orchards Farm. Owner of the barn, Bruna De Araujo, pieced together the day with local favorites: “I love to work with and support the amazing people in my neck of the woods.”
We sat on campfire logs and introduced ourselves as Emily spoke candidly about her origins in macrame, which she now teaches all over the world. Her openness and storytelling ability set a welcoming tone for the rest of the day. For her, macrame is not only a craft but a way to connect with others: “Macrame came to me organically. I have always loved working with my hands and being creative, and macrame has allowed me to also share my knowledge with others who are yearning for something new to learn. I love that part.”
After completing a tying demo in a field behind the barn, the group headed back inside with great excitement to begin their weavings. Students chose a piece of driftwood that Bruna had collected along the shore of the Hudson River earlier that week. There were no two hangings alike in the room when the workshop concluded. Each knot resulted in a unique piece, but it seemed to be the experience that everyone would cherish the most: “People were there to learn macrame, but I feel like the workshop touched everyone on a deeper level,” Emily said. “For me, macrame is about connecting, to others, to ourselves, and I was happily surprised that people responded so well to that part of the class.”
Emily came all the way from her hometown of Portland, OR to teach this workshop. “The Barn is the most beautiful place I have ever taught a class in,” she said about The Barn in Tivoli, a lofted, year-round rustic country getaway in the small village of Tivoli, NY.
We were delighted by the spread put out for us to enjoy: “All the peaches, blackberries, fennel, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes prepared by our intuitive chef Jo Rectra Cogan were grown less than 10 minutes from the Barn,” Bruna said.
It was a great surprise to hear that all of the students learned about the workshop from Instagram, through which Emily has gained a large following: “I really love Instagram. It has changed my life in so many ways. I love connecting with artists and creative people, and it helps me connect with people who have a similar mindset and aesthetic.”
For Bruna, it is a great pleasure to see her barn used in a new way: “I loved seeing how the Barn transformed to house our twenty beautiful ladies plus the macrame pieces they created in the height of summer! My heart was filled to see so much creativity, love and beauty in the Barn!”
There was something quite magical about seeing the hangings in this setting. We all gathered around an example that Emily created for our first lesson in macrame.
When taking the class with Emily, it was immediately clear how passionate she was about teaching. “One of my favorite parts of teaching is connecting with people and seeing their faces light up when they finally ‘get’ it,” she said.
“The driftwood was gathered by Bruna right from the Hudson river. I love when people can take a piece of the place away with them,” Emily said.
The room was quiet as everyone set out to create their pieces. It is not often enough that we are in such an energizing and focused environment of makers. It was truly inspiring.
“We toasted our day together with Cava, brought to us by our favorite wine connoisseur, Michael Drapkin of Kingston Wine Co.,” Bruna said.
As we left the barn to celebrate on the patio, we all peered in through the window to admire our pieces, which hung so elegantly from the rafters.
“I think everybody felt ‘at home’ at the Barn and in nature,” said Bruna. It’s so inspiring to put ourselves in extraordinary situations to learn, grow and expand. I believe everybody left a little taller and with stronger biceps.”