The Modern Weaver: Combining Cycladic Minimalism with the Beauty of Undyed British Wool


Maria Sigma is a weaver whose work we’ve admired for a while. Her textiles—which embody rugs, throws, cushions and wall hangings—are hand woven largely from undyed wool and alpaca in her studio in East London. “Nature is gorgeous as it’s, and I wish to imagine that this additionally makes my work stunning,” she explains.

Apart from the inherent sustainability credentials of wool (easy-care, long-life, non-allergic, odor resistant, renewable and biodegradable), Maria appreciates its transformable character: “Relying on the set-up of the warp, the weave sample, and the ending of the material, the top consequence may change utterly from the way it seems on the loom. It’s prefer it has its personal life.”

maria sigma at her loom. photograph by rocio chacon. 9
Above: Maria Sigma at her loom. {Photograph} by Rocio Chacon.

Maria studied textile conservation in Greece, buying a deep, scientific information of fibers, dyes, and methods. On the finish of the course, she felt “the inventive aspect” had been lacking, so she discovered a hands-on, conventional weaving seminar. “It mixed all the pieces I appreciated: creativity, math, and using equipment and instruments. It was each purposeful and inventive: I fell in love with it.”

maria also works with natural silk, recycled cotton, jute, nettle, hemp, and li 10
Above: Maria additionally works with pure silk, recycled cotton, jute, nettle, hemp, and linen. “I’m making an attempt to make use of undyed yarns as a lot as attainable in my textiles,” she explains. “Not solely are they’re extra sustainable (they use much less water, power, and chemical substances of their manufacturing), they’re merely extra stunning.” {Photograph} by Rocio Chacon.

Maria moved to London to check for a second diploma in textile design, specializing in hand-weaving. On graduating, she obtained the Cockpit Arts Clothworkers’ Basis Award, which permits weavers to pursue a profession in textiles. She was given entry to studio area and looms, in addition to enterprise recommendation and mentoring. “That was the start of my follow,” she remembers. Two years later, in 2017, with help from The Princes Belief, she was capable of purchase her personal loom and arrange her personal studio.

the loom in maria
Above: The loom in Maria’s studio is linked to a pc management unit the place she masses her patterns, which embody textured distorted diamonds and traditional twills. {Photograph} by Rocio Chacon.

Above: Maria’s Ariadne (of the Sea) is a big, made-to order ground cushion woven from pure new undyed British wool in pure shades of whites and grays with blue coloured element, in a daring textured diamond sample (from £380). {Photograph} by Yeshen Venema.
the acacallis blanket (£930) is handwoven using pure new natural undyed br 13
Above: The Acacallis blanket (£930) is handwoven utilizing pure new pure undyed British alpaca and wool in pure shades of white, pink sandstone, and grey with Aegean blue coloured particulars. {Photograph} by Yeshen Venema.
a detail of maria
Above: A element of Maria’s textured diamond sample that reveals the tactility of her hand-woven, hand-knotted, and hand-brushed items. {Photograph} by Rocio Chacon.

Maria cites her Greek heritage as inspiration, and lots of of her items are named after characters in Greek mythology. Her Ariadne throw, for instance, takes its title from the heroine in Homer’s Odyssey who used a size of thread to assist her lover. Her web site describes the piece as “a handwoven blanket/throw made with pure undyed pure new British wool in shades of white and grey with hand-crocheted Aegean-blue edges, in a textured weaving-lace diamond sample, which mixes the Cycladic minimalism with the purity of the British panorama.”

Above: Maria’s Hydra wall hanging is now in the stores by way of The New Craftsmen (£4800). {Photograph} by Yeshen Venema.

Oftentimes, her inspiration is extra amorphous: “I often begin from the supplies and weaving methods, with an summary theme on my head —a sense many of the instances—after which, primarily based on my present way of thinking, the visible and the context will observe.”

Till lately, Maria’s items have been one-off commissions or made-to-order. Now, she is providing prospects a succinct “ready-to-go” number of merchandise. “I actually take pleasure in making work that explores a brand new thought, method, or materials,” she says. “Making one thing as a result of I’ve the inventive urge; these are the items that kind my ready-to-go assortment, all of that are both one-of-kind or restricted editions.”

for maria, samples are a crucial part of communicating and showcasing designs a 16
Above: For Maria, samples are a vital a part of speaking and showcasing designs and concepts with purchasers. Potential purchasers can order two to a few handwoven samples (topic to availability) by way of Maria’s web site. {Photograph} by Maria Sigma.

The weaving course of is inherently gradual going: it might probably take between three to eight days to arrange the loom after which, relying on the size and the intricacy of the sample, it’d take a number of weeks to finish a single piece. That is the place sampling is available in: “It’s an important a part of my follow,” says Maria. “Weaving is a really gradual follow and tough to visualise, so engaged on a small scale is a fast means of testing concepts with out losing time or supplies. Plus, it offers me the liberty to experiment with weaving and ending methods or supplies that I’ve been mentally planning for a while.”

Above: Maria’s Ariadne (of the Sea) wall hanging, commissioned by MAKE Hauser & Wirth Somerset Gallery (£1,425). {Photograph} by Maria Sigma.
Above: Maria’s one-of-a-kind Hestia:Andros wall hanging, commissioned by MAKE Hauser & Wirth Somerset Gallery (£2,790). {Photograph} by Maria Sigma.

Maria’s textiles are actually represented in up to date craft galleries together with The New Craftsmen and Move Gallery in London, and Waikiki, an idea retailer on Andros within the Greek Cyclades (the place Maria might be co-hosting a weaving/cooking retreat later this yr). Even so, she nonetheless feels her work is way from excellent. “I continue to learn, and that’s the fantastic thing about it. Weaving will be limitless: there may be a lot area for exploration and experimentation. There are durations once I might use the identical methods/patterns/supplies repeatedly and there are durations once I start to search for one thing new. I assume, like all the pieces in life, you want a change on occasion.”


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