There's no doubt about it—macrame is beyond having a moment; it's here to stay. And when it comes to innovating on the art form, look no further than Casey Alberti, the macrame artist behind the shop Sweet Home Alberti. Casey's macrame pieces are a fun, modern take on the old-school craft, featuring bold, bright colors and expertly woven and knotted designs. (Seriously—check out Sweet Home Alberti's Instagram and TikTok for mesmerizing time-lapse videos of her work.) Her creations have earned her Etsy store rave reviews and turned the stay-at-home mom of four kids into a work-from-home entrepreneur who has sold 5,000 handmade pieces in just two years.
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But Casey didn't set out to be a macrame maven. She gravitated toward the ancient art—which originated in the Middle East in the 1400s and became popular in Europe and then the United States thanks to 1960s hippie culture—as a way to deal with deep personal loss. A few years ago, she had a miscarriage, and it led her to find an outlet for her grief.
"I was at home, ruminating, and it was not healthy for me," says Casey, who lives on the outskirts of Portland with her family. "So I organized a girls' night at home with friends, and looking for activities, I saw a really pretty macrame plant hanger on Pinterest. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and taught all my friends to do it. Then, it became part of my healing journey to kind of just sit in quiet and keep my hands busy."
Nowadays, macrame is Casey's in-demand business, and her social media pages have become a way for her to share her own story and allow others to do the same. She hopes to empower and inspire. So, we talked to Casey about weaving her way into an unexpected career, staying inspired and sharing stories to help others heal.
Were you always a crafty person?
CASEY: Not really—I've never considered myself to be creative, let alone an artist. Plants are a bit newer for me too. I wrongly always assumed I didn't have a green thumb! But after my miscarriage, having something just for me, in peace and quiet, that didn't ask anything of me or require perfection was soothing. It helped me have something else to focus on too.
The grief never really goes away, but this art—especially as a stay-at-home mom, and especially as my kids are getting older—has helped me substantially. I love being able to be creative within a structure. I like being quiet in my own world. Macrame brings it all together; it brings me peace.
"I love being able to be creative within a structure. I like being quiet in my own world. Macrame brings it all together; it brings me peace." —Casey Alberti
When did you realize, "OK, this could be a side hustle"?
CASEY: My husband was like, "What are we gonna do with all these plant hangers?" because I couldn't stop making them! Kind of in the moment, I said I'd open an Etsy shop. I didn't really have any intention of doing it but went ahead anyway and added an Instagram page. Getting the sales boosted my confidence and gave me something to do and look forward to and achieve.
What’s a typical work day for you?
CASEY: Once I get all the kids off to school and I've had my coffee, I'll head into my studio, find a good podcast and get started on my orders. My husband works from home too, and we usually will stop and have lunch together. In the afternoon, when the lighting is best, I usually get lost in my work. Sometimes I don't realize it's time to pick up my son from school!
Some days I'll make some content for Insta or TikTok or do a time-lapse of the things I was doing that day. Once I pick up my son from school, I'm done with my day. I also work on pieces for myself. Right now, I'm working on a wall hanging in black and neutrals. In the beginning, color was really important to me—not only because I was stuck in a dark place but because I wanted to stand out. Now, I'm really into neutrals and textures.
In many ways, you’re living a lot of people’s dream artist's life!
CASEY: It's great now. When Etsy did a feature on me in 2021, though, I had no work-life balance, no breaks, for about six months. The orders came pouring in. But now that everything's much more manageable, I can get through my orders every day and spend time with my family in the evening. It's wonderful.
How many pieces do you make in a week?
CASEY: It really depends. I do about five plant hangers a day, but it's two to three times as many during the holidays. Then I spend half of my time creating content or tutorials. People are really interested in learning to macrame for themselves, and I think that's great.
You made a massive macrame backdrop for your cousin’s wedding. Tell us the story of how you got it done.
CASEY: It was two pieces, basically two curtains, 18 feet wide and 9 feet tall. It took me eight hours to make from 6,500 feet of white, zero-waste recycled cotton. I worked on it the day before and the day of the wedding in my hotel room, so I showed up to the wedding all sweaty, trying to pretend I had my life together! My cousin loved it, which was great because she didn't give me any direction. She just told me to do what I thought was best. She was so excited and grateful and loved it. I was like, "OK, now I can enjoy this wedding!"
What do your kids think of your work?
CASEY: In the beginning, they loved doing the in-person events, the pop-up shops. Now it's just kinda normal to them. My daughter, my oldest, has really enjoyed seeing the entrepreneurial side of it as she gets ready to go to college. It's shown her that there are different ways of being successful. It's been really bonding for us. She saw me work hard as a single mom (before meeting my now husband) and then as a stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur. It has really helped her figure out her own path.
You’ve also created community by sharing how you found healing in crafting.
CASEY: One comment I got on my Etsy feature was so special to me that I keep it saved in my phone. I read it every once in a while when I'm struggling with feeling good enough and inspired. It's from someone who lost his wife of 49 years. After depression left him unable to continue doing a craft he'd loved, he was inspired to create again after reading my story and seeing my work. I've found a great community, and it's helped me to tell my stories. I hope I've also helped others along the way.
Maker's Corner: Best Podcasts to Listen to While Crafting
No crafting project is complete without the right background noise (and snacks...always snacks!). So we asked Casey to share some of her favorite podcasts to craft to.
1. Where Should We Begin?: "My absolute favorite!" Casey says of psychotherapist Esther Perel's podcast, which features interviews with different couples around the world. "I can't wait until she releases new episodes."
2. Huberman Lab: Somehow, Dr. Andrew Huberman makes neuroscience understandable (really) with this fascinating podcast that covers everything from sleep to sugar craving.
3. Unlocking Us: A fun way to infuse your art with good vibes for others? Listening to a podcast all about connection from Brené Brown.
4. Armchair Expert: Dax Shepard + Monica Padman + insightful interviews = the perfect soundtrack for making macrame.
5. Dare to Lead: Another Brené Brown must-listen, the interviews with change-makers will put a pep in your step and inspire you to innovate and, yes, lead.