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 Troubled Star Finds a Life After Sport
 Posted: Jun 8 2018, 10:36 AM

Dentus Chookus

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Former West Coast Eagles star Chad Fletcher launches Bali business selling his macrame creations

Rhianna MitchellThe West Australian
Friday, 8 June 2018 2:00AM

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Former West Coast Eagles star Chad Fletcher’s macrame designs are inspired by nature and surfing.Picture: Instagram

On any given day, Chad Fletcher can be found sitting quietly in a Balinese villa, his dog by his side and his hands weaving strands of cotton into intricate patterns.

Those hands, as the former West Coast Eagles premiership player puts it, were used to being wrapped around leather.

But they now create macrame — a craft that has brought the 38-year-old peace and contentment and led to him starting his own business, The Macraman, in Bali.

Fletcher, whose AFL career included the 2006 Eagles premiership and an All-Australian berth in 2004, has been making his creations for more than a year and yesterday launched an online store.

Macrame, the art of knotting, twisting and braiding fibres, was popular in the 1970s and is undergoing a renaissance.

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Fletcher has launched an online store selling his products.

For Fletcher, it has brought “stillness” after well-publicised personal struggles during and after his football career.

“My day-to-day life as a footballer was dictated by a weekly sheet of paper where I was told what to do, when to do it and how to do it,” Fletcher wrote on his website.

He said he “lost his creativity” while playing football but had redis-covered it through his passions of surfing, travelling and macrame.

“Macrame challenges my patience, brings me stillness and gets my creative juices flowing,” Fletcher said.

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Playing for the Eagles.

“I now find myself craving this particular stillness and seclusion, where I’m allowed to just be me ... away from the scrutiny and the judgment of the football field.”

“I was driven by my passion for football. I never knew that it would have such a disabling effect to my creativity.”

Fletcher moved to Bali four years ago and works as a fitness instructor at a resort.

“The move to Bali was really positive. I’ve never been happier,” he told The West Australian.

Fletcher was introduced to macrame by a friend and was inspired to start his own business after encouragement from friends and family. His hand-woven products are made using natural dyes and include wall hangings, plant pot holders, belts and dog leads.

“I’m no longer confined to a day-to-day regime constructed by someone other than myself any more,” he said. “Freedom of choice became an option and is now my priority.”

For every sale, Macraman will make a gold coin donation to suicide prevention charity R U OK? “My own personal struggles will keep me forever engaged in this wonderful charity,” Fletcher said.

“If you look at anyone my age, they’ll all say they’ve had a struggle throughout life or made some poor decisions. I do feel there’s a big push towards mental health awareness and I’m very passionate about that cause.”

Like many sportsmen, Chad Fletcher faced challenges after retiring. Dealing with mental health issues is one of the bigger challenges.

As a follower of the Eagles, I was aware of Chad's battles with mental health and drugs.

It is wonderful that he has found peace and happiness and that, through his creative side, he is able to help others.

Truly a good news story.

“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

“All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.” - John Wooden
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