Ismini Samanidou

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Artist’s Statement

My work starts from an interest in observing time and place.

Focusing on a moment of beauty, I attempt to recreate it, and through this process begin to understand but also reveal what I have seen.

I use my camera to record the world around me. My photographs are my memory, my story. The
information I collect captures time and place through the impermanence and beauty of the everyday:
evidence of decay seen in architectural surfaces; weathered landscape; natural surfaces; macro images
of plants, even weaving itself. By closely examining and analyzing this information I then reconstruct it in woven form.

My making language is developed through weave; Weaving combines a certainty, a methodology of
process and mathematical logic, but at the same time it retains a sense of magic, allowing me to construct an entirely new surface out of loose threads.

I am fascinated by the way in which woven textiles can extend historical and geographical boundaries and remain a common language and means of expression. I am interested in traditional textiles from different cultures and the stories that are hidden within them. I often draw references from my cultural background. Greek traditional fabrics are an endless source of inspiration. 

I was brought up in Athens by a family with strong, professional scientific and craft interests. In my weaving I also combine science and craft, and the technical preparation stages of making a fabric are as important to me as the creative and making process.

Combining digital technologies and designer-maker methods is core to the practice. The work is mainly
woven on a computerised jacquard loom, a technology used widely in the mass production of textiles. This technology enables the production of large scale complex work otherwise unachievable by hand weaving techniques. Operating the loom enables me to respond to the fabric as it is being woven, changing the design and the yarns intuitively – in the same way that traditional hand weavers work in response to the threads in front of them.

I am particularly interested in the construction methods of woven fabrics, and the way that textiles can exist within a space. Narrative is a strong element in the work and often the weaving relates to a particular place, becoming a site-specific piece. The collaborative works extend my practice through conversations about materials and processes.

The cloud series relate to ideas about time, place and change, and they can be seen as alternative
landscapes in the sky. I am intrigued by their intangible surface and immaterial qualities and the way that their study results in a shift in point of view and perception. Seen as different views of the sky over time, the textile samples are presented intentionally unfinished as sketches, alongside the photographs, colour and yarn studies and attempt to show the thinking and making process behind this theme.

The making for the cloud series has been predominantly developed on my handloom. Defying the speed
and technical complexities of the jacquard this process has allowed me to experiment with combinations of materials in both the warp and weft and experience the meditative process of weaving itself. Clouds are an ongoing theme; as the body of work develops over time the cloud sketches will change and evolve as the sky above us does.

 

Textile Designer and Artist
Education

2001-2003 The Royal College of Art, London, UK. Master of Arts in Constructed Textiles
1997-2000 Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, UK. Bachelor of Arts – Textile Design: First Class
1996-1997 Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK. Foundation Studies in Art and Design

Selected Exhibitions

2012 Topography, Crafts Study Centre, Solo Show, Farnham, Surrey, UK and touring in the US in 2013
COLLECT at the Saatchi Gallery, represented by the Wills Lane Gallery, London, UK
Pairings: collaboration with ceramicist Sharon Blakey, as part of the Stroud Textile Festival, Stroud, UK
2011 Texmedin Design Challenge: exhibition of winning textiles in France, Italy, Spain and Greece
Marking: exhibition of British Design as part of the in Tokyo Design Festival, Japan
Craft Code 011, group show focusing on digital methods of making. The Wills Lane Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall
Les Vent Fresh, group show of textile art pieces at Alities Tisses, Paris, France
Pairings: collaboration with ceramicist Sharon Blakey, Manchester and touring, UK
2010 Binary Fiction, group show on jacquard textiles as part of the Textile Society of America, Nebraska, USA
The Warp and the Weft, group show focusing on woven textiles, Wales and touring, UK
Lab Craft, group show curated by Max Fraser and the Crafts Council, touring, UK
Pairings, collaboration with ceramicist Sharon Blakey, Manchester and touring, UK
Urban Weft, group show on jacquard textiles, Almgren Mill, Stockholm, Sweden
The 13th International Triennial of Tapestry, one of 4 textile artists representing the UK, Lodz, Poland
2009 Jerwood Contemporary Makers Exhibition, Jerwood Space London, Dovecot Edinburgh, UK
JacquArt, (exhibition and ETN conference) Haslach, Austria
Inspired Design, Jacquard & Entrepreneurial Textiles, Centre for Craft Creativity & Design, N Carolina
2008 Making it Digital, showcase during Hidden Art Open Studios, London, UK
Curated, Hidden Art Cornwall Design Fair at Godolphin House, Cornwall, UK
Stroud Textile Water Festival, Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK
2007 I love Design with Fuse, at Partridge Fine Art gallery in Mayfair, London, UK
Curated, Hidden Art Cornwall Design Fair at Godolphin House, Cornwall, UK
Autonomatic at Metropolitan Works, London, UK
COLLECT at the V&A Museum, represented by the Lesley Craze Gallery, London, UK
2006 Curated, Hidden Art Cornwall Design Fair at Godolphin House, Cornwall, UK
Salone Satellite, Milan Furniture Fair, Italy
COLLECT at the V&A Museum, represented by the Lesley Craze Gallery, London, UK
2005 Kaunas Textile Biennal, Kaunas, Lithuania
100% Design, Decorex International, London, UK
Visions in Textiles part of the European Textile Network exhibition, Izmir, Turkey
Designer Crafts Exhibition, the Mall Galleries, London, UK
2004 Chelsea Crafts Fair, Chelsea Town Hall, London, UK
The Highland Craft Exhibition, Scotland, UK
2003 The Revenge of Arachni Solo Installation in the enamel factory in Kea, Greece
The Show, Royal College of Art graduation show, London, UK

Work in the Collections of

Public Collections The Worshipful Company of Weavers, Permanent textile collection at the Victoria and Albert
Museum, Crafts Council, Central Saint Martins Archive Collection, National Grid Transco Collection
Private Collections

Freelance Designing and Consultancy Work

2003-present Sample collections for fashion and interior houses in the US and Europe including clients
Calvin Klein Home and Womenswear, DKNY Home and Womenswear, Marks & Spencer, GAP
Consultancy for West Dean College, The Natural Fibre Company
Freelance Designing for George Spencer Designs, London. Lame Ledal Yarn Company, Italy,
Los Estanques textile mill, Mitchell Denburg Corp, Guatemala
Studio assistant with Wallace Sewell, Salt, London

Scholarships, Awards and Commissions

2011 Place Making, a residency pairing makers and architects at the Historic Dockyards in Chatham, Kent
Organised by the Crafts Council and Kent Architecture Centre
Texmedin Design Challenge: first prize winner, contemporary applications of traditional textiles
Private commission for curtains and blinds, London, UK
2009-2010 British Council residency in Bangladesh as part of the Silk Route cultural exchange project
Nomination for the Arts Foundation Textile Art Fellowship
Jerwood Contemporary Makers Award, supported by Grants for the Arts by Arts Council England
2008 Making it Digital, collaborative projects supported by Hidden Art Cornwall and Autonomatic
2007 Commission for Histories at Godolphin House, commissioned by the Crafts Council
Shortlisted Textile designs for the London Overground, Transport for London
2006 The Crafts Council Development Award, setting up scheme supported by the Crafts Council
Textile Commission for the new Norman Foster building for Allen & Overy, London, UK
The John Dunsmore Scholarship, a travel and research scholarship to Sarawak Malaysia
Repeat and Variation, research into printmaking textiles, supported by Autonomatic, Cornwall, UK
2004 The Worshipful Company of Weavers Wall Hanging Commission
Commissioned textile wall hanging for display in the Weavers offices, to become part of the permanent
Victoria & Albert Museum Textile Collection
Crafts Council, Next Move 2004-2006, residency scheme at University College Falmouth
2003 National Grid Transco Award “transformation”, RCA show 1st prize winner
British Interior Textile Association “Emerging Talent Award”, 2nd place winner
2002 George Spencer scholarship, textile designer for Mitchell Denburg textile mill in Antigua, Guatemala.
Worshipful Company of Haberdashers Prize for Textiles, 4th prize winner

Selected publications and press

2013 Textile Visionaries, Laurence King Publication by Bradley Quinn
2012 Warp & Weft: woven textiles in fashion, interiors & art (A&C Black) by Jessica Hemmings
2011 Textile Design, Laurence King Publication by Simon Clarke
2009 Excess Baggage, Radio 4 interview with Sandi Toksvig, 22nd June 09, London
Selvedge, Feature for Timeline
2008 Textiles Now, Laurence King Publication, by Drucilla Cole, Elle Decoration, (feature),
2007 The Journal of Spinners Weavers Dyers (feature)
The Observer Magazine, Modern Carpets and Textiles (feature)
2004 La Seta (Italian edition), anno 55 N.1 2004,
2003 Crafts Magazine No.185, November/December issue

Academic posts and lectures

2004-present Visiting Lecturer in higher education and post graduate institutions including
The Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, University College Falmouth,
Chelsea College of Art, Brighton University, Somerset College of Art, MMU, University of Manchester
Mentoring through the Crafts Council Hothouse and Creative Skills program for recent graduates.
2006-2010 Fractional lecturer BA Hons Textile Design, University College Falmouth, Cornwall
2008-2009 Subject leader for Weave, BA Hons Textile Design Winchester School of Art
2006-present Conference lectures and talks
Design values, Texmedin Conference, Barcelona, February 2012
Weavers Spinners and Dyers annual meeting, artist talk, London, UK, 2011
Shuttle course workshop leader and artist talk, Haslach Austria, 2011
Urban Weft, artist talk, Stockholm, 2010
Timeline, artist talk, ETN Conference, Haslach, Austria, 2009
Jacquard and Enterpreunerial Textiles, Conference, N Carolina, US, 2009
International Crafts and Innovation, Conference, Toledo, Spain, 2008
Layers and Surface, artist talk, Devon Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers, Devon, 2007
From pixel to threads, artist talk, ETN Conference, London, 2007
Digital Textile Making, talk, Digital Explorers, Metropolitan Works, London, 2007
Textile Travels and Scholarships, New Designers, London, 2007
Scholarship Evening, talk, The Royal College of Art, London, 2006
World Eco Textile Forum, International Conference, Sarawak Borneo, Malaysia, 2006

RECENT NEWS

The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design launches “Craft City”

The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) debuts a new program series this summer that honors Asheville as “Craft City.” At three outdoor pop-up studios this summer (July 7, August 4, and September 1) people of all skill levels and backgrounds can make a take-home craft under the guidance of a visiting artist.

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