Macrame crafter Zullaeqa Nasir, 31, is always fascinated by how different macrame knots can produce intricate designs on bracelets and necklaces.
The Kuala Terengganu-based woman finds the versatility of strings and knots, and how they can be used to construct beautiful jewellery, intriguing.
“I have been a macrame crafter for a few years, and I love the idea of manipulating strings to create different knots for macrame jewellery. There are so many types of macrame knots, including square knot, lark’s head knot and spiral knot.
“Over the years, macrame weaving has enhanced my patience and creativity,” says Zullaeqa, who was one of the vendors at the Serba Sunburst bazaar for vintage and pre-loved clothes in Kuala Lumpur recently.
In fact, Zullaeqa learnt all about the craft from her husband, 29-year-old Amir Mujahid.
In 2020, she quit her job as a graphic designer in a printing company to join him in running their home-based business specialising in macrame jewellery.
“I was never happy to work in a corporate setting in Kuala Lumpur.
“I felt restricted, and I didn’t like the idea of being stuck in an office from 9am to 5pm. After quitting my job, I worked as a waitress in a resort in Pulau Redang.
“During my free time, I learned to make macrame jewellery from my husband. I also improved my knowledge through video tutorials on social media platforms and from other like-minded crafters.
“We learned many patterns through trial and error. Slowly, Amir and I started to sell our handicraft on a part-time basis.
“During the pandemic, we moved back to Kuala Terengganu to run our home-based business,” explains Zullaeqa, who studied graphic designing at Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
Zullaeqa is among many women who have made a career switch to pursue their passion.
“It is important to pursue a career that brings joy. Making macrame is relaxing and there’s a sense of happiness in creating a craft using different types of knots and hitches.
“And it is always rewarding whenever people wear our creations. It inspires us to create better handcrafted items,” she adds.
Amir learned to make macrame jewellery while travelling to South Korea, Thailand and East Malaysia.
Before launching his macrame business in 2018, he worked at his parents’ restaurant.
“Although women are often associated with macrame jewellery-making, I have always enjoyed arts and craft. I am a person who is stoked about detail, hence the reason I find macrame so interesting.
“There’s something therapeutic about crafting jewellery with my hands,” he says.
The business partners create macrame bracelets, necklaces and rings, with some of their items incorporating semi-precious stones and crystals.
It takes Zullaeqa about 30 minutes to make a simple macrame bracelet with twisted knots.
“The more complicated the knots, the longer it takes to complete a project. Some macrame jewellery comprises many complex knots like carrick mat knot, double coin knot and monkey’s fist.”
The couple can make between 30 and 50 simple bracelets on a productive day.
Polyester wax thread is preferred for macrame jewellery because it is durable, water resistant, and does not fade easily.
“We receive many orders for custom-made necklaces with semi-precious stones like amethyst, turquoise and aquamarine, and crystals like rose quartz, moonstone and citrine.
“Some of our online orders are from Brazil, Singapore and India,” shares Zullaeqa, who posts photos of their creations on Instagram.
“There’s been a growing demand for macrame jewellery on social media.
“Many Malaysians are beginning to recognise and appreciate these handcrafted items, which reflect a boho chic minimalistic style.”
A #macrame search on Instagram will lead to over 9.6 million posts, where a large community of crafters is happy to share photos of their handcrafted projects.
The hashtag “macrame jewellery” has close to 700,000 Instagram posts.
To further promote their handcrafted items, the couple makes it a point to participate in various bazaars nationwide.
“We earn enough to survive. Our income comes from joining bazaars, custom orders and online sales.
“We work well as a couple and as business partners. So far, working together enables us to further strengthen our relationship,” says Zullaeqa.
The couple recently bought a second-hand Nissan Vanette and is slowly transforming it into a camper van. Occasionally, they travel in their trusty van to different states to sell their unique creations.
“After being stuck at home during the pandemic, we figured now is the right time to travel again. There’s so much more to see and experience.
“The best part is we can lead a nomadic life, travel across Malaysia while working on macrame crafts.
“We are still young and we want to enjoy the best moments in our life,” Zullaeqa concludes.