Wedding dressing . . . Anika and Robbie Smith stand under the marcrame arch Anika made for their wedding. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/EMMA WILLETTS

The Waitaki district is humming with more than its share of clever people who are quietly building businesses in their spare time. Ashley Smyth has sought out some of these small-scale entrepreneurs, to find out more about their side hustles. This week, she chats with Anika Smith, of Fibrefolk.

Q Tell us about your business, Anika.

I have a small ‘‘bit-on-the-side’’ macrame business called Fibrefolk. Basically, I spend my spare time tying decorative knots.

I make all sorts of hand-crafted macrame pieces including wall hangings, dream catchers, archways, Christmas decorations, baby toys, lanterns, garlands, plant hangers, bouquet wraps, etc.

There has been a huge resurgence of macrame in recent years. I like to think of it as putting a modern spin on an ancient craft.

Q What do you love about it?

I have loved discovering a whole new side to myself. I grew up playing sport, and didn’t really think I had a creative bone in my body — or rather, I never had time to explore that part of myself.

I find it very relaxing and I can get totally lost in a project for hours. Making macrame has quite a calming effect on the soul with its repetitive knotting and limitless creative possibilities.

Q What made you start?

It all started about six years ago when my husband, Robbie, and I bought our first home.
I have always loved Bohemian styling, so I filled our house with all things Bohemian, which included macrame plant hangers that my grandma gave me, and a large macrame wall-hanging I bought online. When I hung the large piece on the wall, I took a closer look at the details and thought to myself ‘I could make this’, so I jumped on YouTube, watched a few macrame tutorials and made my very first wall hanging.

From that moment on I was hooked. I spent the first year or so (in my spare time) doing loads of research around materials, techniques, tips and tricks of the trade, etc. I made mostly commission pieces and sold a few random pieces here and there.

After all that time I still hadn’t named my business — for some reason nothing I had come up with really felt right. It wasn’t until I went to Outward Bound and spent two nights in the bush on a solo journey with only pen and paper to amuse myself, that I came up with the name Fibrefolk.

Q Where would you like to take it?

I would love to build up a collection of pieces to be available for hire for large and small-scale events. The possibilities are endless here.

I have also recently learnt how to add weaving to my hangings — a sort of macraweave, if you will, so I am super keen to explore this technique/style further.

Landscape . . . Anika has learnt how to add weaving to her hangings, and this piece was inspired by Lake Benmore.

Q Tell us about your ‘day job’.

I am a full-time mum to my little man, Alder. He’s almost 15 months and there is never a dull moment. Trying to do macrame with a busy baby has been an interesting challenge. He actually inspired Robbie, who is a builder, and I, to collaborate on a project when he was really little, which was super rewarding. We made him a macrame activity gym.

Playing around . . . Anika and Robbie Smith combined talents to make this play gym for their newborn son Alder (now 15 months).

Q How can people find you?

You can find me on Facebook ( Fibrefolk) and Instagram (@_fibrefolk_). You can contact me for custom orders or follow me on social media to see available pieces for sale.