September 19, 2017

Macrame wedding backdrops and Freedom with Nicole Hemmerly of Mosshound Designs

I first met Nicole on the recommendation of Patti from Indigo Earth Events when I interviewed her for the blog.  Nicole makes amazing macrame wedding backdrops and when I saw them I was fascinated and wanted to meet her.

I am so glad that we got the chance to sit down and talk!

Turns out we have a lot in common and I actually cut about half of our conversation for the interview because we got off topic quite a few times on everything from hobbies, to World War 2 to Game of Thrones (which we all know that I can talk about at great length!).

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did!!!

MT: Thank you for letting me interview you today.  Let’s start out, can you tell me a little bit about you and your business?

NH: I am from Northern PA, more cows than people kind of area.  A small town, went to a small high school, went to a small college, the whole nine.  I moved to Philadelphia and lived there for almost 8 years and then I met my husband and we moved down here (to North Carolina).  That’s how we ended up in North Carolina.

The business came about by reading a book.  I got really intrigued by the history of macrame and the book was just amazing.  It was interesting and it just caught my eye because I am straight seventies and I love everything from the seventies!  Sixties, seventies, everything.  And then I just practiced a lot and that’s all.

MT: Do you remember the book?

NH: I really think it is called the history of macrame!  It’s was just a little paperback book that I got off of Amazon.

MT: So you were just scrolling Amazon looking for like kitchen electrics or something…

NH: You know, I was scrolling Amazon because I really wanted to be crafty.  I watched people be crafty and the embroidery was getting really popular and I know some people that sew and I wanted something to do that was rewarding in that way.  I couldn’t find it.  My mother-in-law tried to teach me how to crochet and knit.  I got books on it and it didn’t work out.  Really, I can’t do anything other than tie knots and I’m okay with that.  So, I was looking for things to do and this history of macrame came up on my Amazon recommended books.

MT: Would you say that you are creative by nature or was it something that you had to work at?

NH: Oh no, I had to work at it.  I can decorate a house and put things where they need to be and make it look nice, but when it comes to actually creating something…I had to work at it hard.  It sounds awful, but some of the pieces that I started off making were just hideous.  No sugar coating here, they were hideous.  And so you take them out and you start over.  You try something different and go, “Oh, that’s cool.  Let me try that this way.” And then it all flows together to become a wall hanging or a wedding backdrop.  I still do it!  I still spend three quarters of my day taking things apart because I don’t like how they look.  Now they just end up looking better than they did two years ago.

MT: Speaking of the wedding backdrops, what is your favorite thing about making these pieces specifically for weddings.

NH: I love weddings.  I love love.  Love is awesome.  The whole shebang makes everyone feel good.  I think the best part of making these pieces is when you see a bride and groom in front of a macrame backdrop with these big lush florals all across it…my heart just skips a beat.  Macrame and florals are just meant to go together and I think that’s what really makes me super happy about seeing it.  I’m not always at the weddings and I don’t get all the feels.  I get the feels from the pictures, but I get the feels from the flowers and the macrame.  They just speak to me.  Total flower child.

MT:  What pieces are most popular for weddings?

NH:  I’ve been selling a lot of the gold hoops with macrame.  I think they are just simple for people to add a little modern boho.  The macrame bunting has been really huge for cake tables.  I’ve been doing a lot of the shorter three quarter length backdrops because then after the wedding people will use them in their homes.  Between those three pieces I’ve been making a lot of backdrops.

MT:  How are people using them in their homes?

NH:   They hang then behind a couch or use them as headboards.

MT:  And everyday you see them it reminds you of your wedding.  That’s really nice.

What is the most creative ways that you have seen someone use on of your pieces?

NH: Oh, I love this question.  I actually haven’t seen it, but this younger girl came in and said she had to have this macrame plant hanger.  I asked her what she was using it for because she was younger – probably 12 or 14 – and she was really excited about it so I wanted to dig in a little deeper.  She told me that she had a fish bowl with her beta fish and she wanted to put her fish bowl in it.  I told her she was the coolest girl.  Yes, you have a bit of my soul.  Rock on.

MT:  When you are not working on pieces for the shop, what else do you like to do?  We know you like to go hiking.

NH:  Hiking, yoga, working out, you know the whole outdoor active thing is really good.  I’m really obsessed with dying things so I’ve gotten into doing some table runners.  My mom is going to get me a sewing machine for Christmas so stay tuned for some new fun things.  I don’t know what, but something.  So, I’ve just been playing around with dying fabrics and it’s really fun.

MT:  Oh, this is always a fun one.  If we were to ask your close friends to describe you in five words, which words would they choose?

NH:  Mouthy, Ambitious – definitely – spastic would be a good one.  I’m everywhere, all over the place constantly.  Driven and I would hope that they would describe me as caring and kind.

MT:  The next question is even more appropriate than I could have known since you like books so much.  Are there any books that you are reading right now?

NH:  I’ve been on a re-read and re-read of “Love Her Wild” by Atticus.  If I can stop reading it long enough I will let you borrow it.  It is a book of poems.  Some of them are just soul crushing and then you read other ones and you’re like I’m in love.  I highly recommend it.

MT:  So, I found out that you despise all white walls, which is funny since we are sitting in a your shop surrounded by very light walls.  If you could paint the shop any color, what color would you choose?

NH:  It would be a dark mossy green.  That’s kinda where my soul resides is in the moss and the greenery.  All shades of green.

MT:  Besides the book you are reading (and re-reading) right now, what is your favorite book you’ve read recently and what did you like about it?

NH:  The Nightingale.  It’s by Kristin Hannah.  It is a World War Two based book and it is about this heroic young girl who grows up trying to do whatever she can do to keep people safe.  She ends up being a really, really strong force in the war.  There’s a bit of a love story in it, it’s suspenseful. It goes on for a very long time.  She falls in love and then he goes off to war and they meet again.  It’s such a heart warming and heart wrenching book all in one.  But, historically speaking it was war time, it’s what people went through.  All the rough times and hopefully seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and sunshine at the other end.

MT:  When it comes to making things – we talked about the plant hangers, the backdrops, the wall hangings – what is your favorite thing or type of thing to make?

NH:  I enjoy anything that I can make on a piece of driftwood.  You have to flow with the twists and turns and arms on a piece of driftwood.  It makes me think.  I can now be creative with a straight stick.  That’s fine, I got that.  When you have the arms going everywhere and you have to play with that and make it look cohesive that’s my favorite.  It takes awhile, but that’s my favorite.

MT:  Where do you find your wood?

NH:  My husband and I hike a lot. He’s carried some big pieces of drift wood out and grumbled the entire way, but he loves it.  He secretly loves it.  He’ll get out there and help me clean the driftwood.  It’s a process, you know?  Probably last time we went out we hiked a good ways in and found this little inlet cove area where all the drift wood had washed up.  I was like, I can not miss this opportunity to pick up all these pieces.  I had brought extra paranoid and he had some too and we literally just strapped both of us down with these pieces.  I was in the water, my dogs were in the water.  My one German shorthaired pointer (he’s a mess) will jump in and pull the sticks out and put them on the shore.  I guess he saw me doing it.  We were dying laughing.  The whole family is supportive and helping.  It was just the best day ever.

MT: What’s the best place to go find the driftwood?  Do you have a secret spot?

NH:  I do have a secret spot!  Uhwarrie.  There’s a bunch of little lakes and coves.  My husband actually proposed to me out there so when I say good vibes go into these pieces, like good vibes go into these pieces.

MT:  Do you have a quote that you live by or think of often?

NH:  Oh my God, I have like thirty thousand quotes.  I guess one of my favorites is “The Earth laughs in flowers” which is tattooed on me.  It’s not necessarily a life defining quote, it’s just a constant reminder that beauty is all around us.  Somewhere someone is laughing and enjoying life.  I just find peace with that quote.  And, I love flowers.

MT: Last question, what is your best marriage advice for couples who are just starting out?

NH:  I love that question.  I feel like I can answer you 30,000 ways but my brain always comes back to just give your significant other the space to follow their dreams and to be wild and adventurous and still have a solid foundation.  Don’t be negative and let them feel it out for themselves.  They aren’t always going to be right and things aren’t always going to go well but everything’s going to run it’s course and you’ve got to let them have that room to grow.  When I think back to all of the other relationships that I’ve had and think what was missing, what I craved so much it was that freedom to be a little wild and free and then have a structured place to call home.


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