Our Artisans: loomer Maria Sigma

Our Houses celebrate the meticulous work of artisans, emerging and established. This month, we introduce the creators behind some of our most beloved and iconic design pieces. Next up is loomer Maria Sigma. 

By James Anderson   Images by Alun Callender   Wednesday 15 April, 2020   Short read

A woman weaving on a loom.

Maria Sigma in her studio

A woman weaving.

'Living in a digital era of single-use items, the need for tangible materials is essential. Craft gives a context of history to our convenience-based economy.'

GREECE – Born in Greece and now based in London, Sigma is an ethical, zero-waste textiles designer. She creates hand-woven rugs, cushions and other soft furnishings

When did you first become interested in textiles?
My great-grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was a child. She was from Andros, a Cycladic island near Mykonos, where hand-crocheted laces were a traditional women’s hobby. I became really interested in textiles during my first degree in textile conservation, which I completed in Athens. I fell in love with weaving, so I decided to go to London and obtain my second degree in textile design, at Chelsea College of Arts, specialising in hand-weaving.

What do you love most about your job?
I like how weaving combines craft, maths, machinery and creativity. I enjoy exploring new design ideas and materials, and collaborating with other designers. It’s challenging to have a brief and try to find what is or isn’t possible to make on the loom and, of course, within a specific budget.

How do you ensure your work is always sustainable and ethically produced?
I source natural yarns, or waste yarns from small mills, directly from the supplier. I also strive to reduce unnecessary cuts, carbon footprints and the use of machinery, water and electric energy. I exclusively use natural, undyed, British wool and alpaca. And I consider the impact on the planet at every stage of the design and making process.

Can you tell us a little about your project with Soho House Design for Soho Roc House in Mykonos?
It’s an exclusive capsule collection. I have designed some new throws, inspired by the unique and minimal aesthetics of Cycladic architecture, plus the natural landscape of the island, but with a daring style. The throws will be made with 100 per cent Greek, organic-certified cotton. The production will take place in one of the few remaining weaving mills in Athens, a small family business.

Why is it important for us to surround ourselves with beautifully made things?
One of the main traits of humans is our dependence on objects. Our possessions are considered to be a major contribution to our sense of self. Living in a digital era of single-use items, the need for tangible materials is essential. Craft gives a context of history to our convenience-based economy. More specifically, hand-weaving brings back a forgotten collaboration of the body and mind, and the relationship between domesticity and creativity.

Maria Sigma has collaborated with Soho House Design for Soho Roc House in Mykonos; sohohouse.com/houses/soho-roc-house; mariasigma.com

A pile of folded blankets.
woman working at a loom