I have always been interested in hand made individually crafted designs and brands produced locally in the UK. Over the last few months I have become familiar with quite a few really interesting UK brands that I would like to start introducing to you on my blog. London Design Fair was a really good place to meet talented crafts people. This is where I saw Maria’s beautiful textiles.
Maria Sigma | Woven Textiles is a London based award-winning textile brand specialising in hand-woven textiles. By using exceptional natural materials Maria creates textiles and furniture pieces for projects large and small, commercial and residential, combining expertise in made-to-measure throws, cushions, rugs, furnishing fabrics and many more.
Maria Sigma | Woven Textiles collection celebrates a timeless high aesthetic via ‘zero waste’ design and production ethic, combining a contemporary approach with traditional weaving techniques whilst focusing on raw natural materials and texture. Individually designed, handcrafted and fully customisable.
Inspired by her Greek heritage and by the colour palette of the British landscape, in combination with a love for maths and craftsmanship, Maria makes vibrant, yet minimal, contemporary textiles that creatively interpret long-established traditional craft techniques and styles. By emphasising the raw quality of the materials and texture and removing any superfluous elements, her work pays close attention to usability and aims at producing high-quality luxurious interior products designed to become timeless heirlooms.
High quality and sustainable natural fibres (British wool) are key to the philosophy of her work, in which the aspiration for textile longevity through simplicity and sensibility is essential. Weaving is her way of putting the everyday chaos in order with a view to making something honest and beautiful out of it.
Maria’s love for textiles started while she was studying Conservation of Art Works in Athens. Through her studies of Textile Conservation she had the opportunity to come across exceptional textile historical pieces and get in depth knowledge of different techniques of textile making and fibres.
In 2010 Maria decided to come to London and do a second degree in Textile Design, specialising in handweaving at Chelsea College. During her degree in London and after having the basic knowledge of how to use a dobby loom and basic weave structures, she discovered how much more she enjoyed playing with texture. It magically made sense why she was using her fingers to draw instead of a brush – it was all about texture! She gradually started removing colour and focusing on texture. Not only because it is much more sustainable to use undyed yarns and matches with her ‘zero waste’ philosophy, but also because it was challenging to aim to make something beautiful with totally different rules. With a lack of colour. Or, at least, what she thought colour was all about, until then.
After graduation Maria received the Cockpit Arts | ‘Clothworkers’ Foundation Award for two years (2015 & 2016) where she enjoyed the provision of studio space and business support and she started setting up her own Textile Design business as a professional weaver under the label ‘Maria Sigma | Woven Textiles’. In 2017 she achieved investment support from The Prince’s Trust and Virgin Start-Up Scheme and with their support she invested in a new floor Dobby loom and officially launched as Maria Sigma | Woven Textiles.
Her vision is to have a sustainable creative craft-based business. In the next two years she aspires setting up her own weaving studio/showroom and space for workshops. Her goal is to sell one-off pieces through small high-end boutique shops and galleries, and collaborate with interior design studios for bespoke commissioned work. Among her plans is to collaborate with furniture makers and create together a series of upholstered hand-made furniture.
On top of her standard collection of hand-woven products she also offers textile design and colour consultation services to individuals and professionals for interior spaces but not limited to it.
So far she had the honour to collaborate with exceptional interior designers, architects, fashion designers, magazines and galleries such as Susie Atkinson Interior Design Studio where they created bespoke big-scale Ottomans for Beaverbrook Country Club; and MAKE the new gallery space for craft of Hauser & Wirth Somerset where she participated at the inaugural exhibition with a series of one-off Wall Hangings.
Wool is Maria’s material of choice because of its excellent qualities. A natural insulator, multi-climatic, long-life, non-allergic and odour resistant material, it is also renewable and biodegradable, which makes it the ideal raw-material for human and environment friendly textiles. Because wool is a living, breathing ‘smart’ fibre, it improves the air in enclosed spaces, improves sleep, provides comfort and ensures safety. By choosing wool you’re already obtaining a product made from a renewable source, that’s naturally durable and requires less chemical cleaning than other fibres and when it comes to the end of its long and useful life it is completely biodegradable.
Maria runs regular Frame Weaving Workshops.
The workshops are usually a 4-hour class designed to give students a thorough and intensive grounding in hand-weaving. Students will learn foundational weaving skills, such as warping, loom set up, colour blending and structure, and basic weaving techniques and patterns. The aim of the class is to not only cover a wide range of styles but also encourage the student to develop his/her own distinctive voice as a weaver. You can make a small wall hanging, pieces for a patchwork, a clutch bag or an abstract artwork, and plenty more.
Frame weaving is the best first step for someone to get familiar with what weaving is, learn the terminology and how to use tools and equipment. It is also great for someone who wants to create fibre art pieces. All materials will be provided. A small wooden frame loom, weaving tools and instructions booklet will be also provided in a recycled-cotton pouch to take home.
Maria’s next Weaving from Waste Workshop will be taking place on 17th February at Craft Central. You can find details of the venue and pricing on Maria’s website.
On 23rd February she will be running Frame Weaving Workshop from Waste at Harvey Nichols. You can buy tickets for this workshop here.
Some more dates for your diary:
18 – 23 February – pop-up shop with The Maiyet Collective.
From 21st March Maria will be participating in Why Craft Matters? exhibition at Harewood House. More details here.