Uttu Designs weaves larger-than-life macramé bohemian art
by LUCIA VITI
Published - 12/18/18 - 01:17 PM | 3010 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Leitra Jocham is an Ocean Beach-based rope artiste.
Leitra Jocham is an Ocean Beach-based rope artiste.
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Leitra Jocham is an Ocean Beach-based rope artiste. The hands of Uttu Designs, Jocham weaves larger-than-life macramé backdrops and wall hangings. Describing the trade as a “random art I never imagined doing,” ginormous, yet intricate, motifs are meticulously knotted by hand, with some taking up to three weeks to complete.

“Heavily influenced by the Southern California beach culture,” Jocham’s functional and decorative pieces “add a calming bohemian energy to any space, event or home.” The Ocean Beach resident curates for a singular purpose, “to add a touch of movement and magic to life.

“Every piece I create pours from a special place in my soul,” she said.

Despite falling into the art of macramé knot-tying “accidentally,” Jocham has found her niche. Self-taught and “constantly learning new techniques,” the novice talent doesn’t adhere to the traditional rules of macramé. Ideas are sketched from intricate patterns with some born and bred from “my dreams.”

“Projects begin with vague ideas, sketched before weaving,” she said. “I also dream in patterns. Sketch books are by my bed so I sketch what I’ve dreamed as fast as I can.”

Between thinking and dreaming, pieces evolve.

Giant looms and racks suspend solid, off-white, high-quality cotton ropes. Pieces are built onto arbors, wooden branches or long sections of chords suspended by wraps. Chords for 25 feet high backdrops stand on a sturdy base that requires “quite a bit of room.” Jocham uses a ladder to work from top to bottom.

The 28-year old admits that the larger designs are taxing and labor intensive.

“You don't make pieces this scale unless you absolutely love what you're doing,” she said. “I work every day, but it’s hard to devote 10 hours a day to a piece that’s taller than I am. I break the day into segments. I work until I can’t do any more, take a break and pick it up later.”

Jocham’s entry into the “therapeutic art of knot tying” was serendipitous. Determined to make plant hangers for her Sunset Cliff apartment, she turned on YouTube and discovered that macramé was an artistic skill and a craft that “I really loved.” The more she learned, the more interesting the art became. She set up a giant loom “in the alleyway” and practiced different knots and styles after work.

Impressed, a photographer friend suggested building backdrops for wedding photographs. Inspired, Jocham expanded her work to create pieces ranging between five to almost nine feet. Thinking, “How cool would it be to do this for a living,” the budding entrepreneur turned to rental and commissioned pieces as she blossomed Uttu Designs – named after the Sumerian Goddess of weaving – from hobby to business.

Today, the Michigan transplant is thrilled to “fuse my artistic side with my bachelor of science degree in business management from Eastern Michigan University.” Work is completed in her Ocean Beach studio with a hosted design space in OB’s Thistle Florist.

Success has fueled the artiste to “tap into the hippie in me” and become “challenged by request.”

“I collect pieces of wood and plants and think ‘It would be really cool if,’ which leads to ‘Why don’t I try?” she said.

Materials are recycled, reclaimed, salvaged and/or purchased in the U.S. Uttu Designs also works with OB’s Reclaimed Goodness and Thistle Florist in an effort to “expand the wedding side of my business.

“I enjoy partnering with the local coastal businesses,” she said. “I really love networking with a community of creatives working together to accomplish their dreams and visions.”

Jocham conducts workshops though out San Diego.

“Macramé gives me the ability to be artistic,” she concluded. “That, to me, is magic.”

Visit uttudesign.com for more information.

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