“Macrame pendants in cotton, henequen rope, colored yarn … Made by a quarantined millennial.”
That’s how Alejandra Rodriguez aptly describes her enterprise on Instagram.
Alejandra found herself making a living by helping people live with house plants after riding out the lockdown in her small Mérida apartment, a stone’s throw from the Paseo de Montejo. That’s when she focused on propagating plants and then dressing up her sprouts in elaborate knots, a craft that’s been coming back into vogue. She makes house calls, also taking her adept green thumb to restaurants and offices where potted plants tend to be ignored, get sick and die.
But it was her macrame that got her noticed on social media and Hago Colgantes (I Make Pendants) was propagated as well.
Alejandra studied architecture at UADY and started out professionally producing technical drawings of archaeology digs. That lasted six years until her passion for plants and working with ropes and fabrics took root.
“What I really like is to do stuff with my hands,” Alejandra says.
For a client’s outdoor hanging garden, Alejandra took some coarse rope and experimented with a variety of knots and weaves. A tradescantia zebrina, a spider plant and a philodendron were each contained in painted wooden containers and suspended from tree branches. The resulting macrame creations blend easily with the shady courtyard.
Back in her studio are more hanging plants, many taking root in small containers of water, but her inventiveness also extends to another discipline. Her space also contains a simple sewing station and a rack with slacks and easygoing tops, of her own creation.
“It’s not fashion design,” Alejandra says. “I just wanted to make clothes that I would want to wear, that are very simple, with fabrics that are super super comfortable.”
She took the second-floor walkup apartment, which has one large window facing in the general direction of the boulevard, 10 years ago when she wanted something convenient to school. The unit has no outdoor area, which could be considered inconvenient given her vocation, but the plants seem happy being her roommates.
“I don’t need too much space. Actually I like smaller spaces,” says Alejandra.
At first, she didn’t consider her studio’s output the foundation of a business: “It was more for gifts for my friends.”
But when the pandemic forced her to spend more time indoors, communing with her plants led her to an inevitable conclusion.
“It was a hobby becoming something more regular, and I’m realizing I can make a living with it,” she recalls.