Last Spring, while on a inspiration trip to Hastings, we booked onto Greek artist and weaver Ismini Samanidou's 'Drink & Draw' workshop at the Jerwood Gallery. The class involved thermal mark- making on fax paper using an iron, small oven and tools such as pieces of wire, folded paper and rice grains. And the result? Our very own SevenSeventeen signature monochrome patterns! Making their first appearance on our new luxury matchboxes, we caught up with Ismini to chat all things craft and how it's the latest way to self-care
How did you get into weaving?
I thought I’d be a vet growing up but the first time I tried weaving, it was like a door opened up and all these questions came flooding in. I found it fascinating constructing an entirely new surface and material and exploring all the considerations that came with that along the way. I've just completed a large-scale collaborative textile installation for a London interior and I'm working on some rug designs.
What inspired the thermal mark-making techniques you taught at your workshop at the Jerwood?
I came up with the concept when I was an artist in residence at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut a few years ago. I worked from a big studio in the middle of the woods - it was very special to step out of my day-to-day life and work in isolation. I started experimenting with thermal paper and used anything that was easily available, like an iron and oven and simple tools for mark-making. I enjoy the chance and hands-on elements of this process and the surprises created along the way - and also that the technique is accessible to all. I loved the beautiful SevenSeventeen experiments and patterns that Sarah and Naomi developed!
Arts & Crafts workshops and supper-clubs are on the up as a way to self-care. Why do you think this is?
I think people have lost touch with making and the experience of using their hands. It's very therapeutic, allows you to use different senses and connects you to the world in different ways. Plus, working together on a common goal can be very fulfilling and reminds us to care about each other and ourselves.
What is your all-time favourite smell in the world?
I love woody spices, cinnamon and cardamom. And the worst? This would have to be shoe polish and white spirit. Becoming a mum has made me a lot less squeamish about most other smells!
What does wellbeing look like for you and where do you find moments of calm amidst the chaos?
I'm lucky to live on the South East coast of England. Watching the sea continuously move and listening to the waves brings me back to my centre. My paradise is a tiny island in the Cyclades in Greece where you don't need a car and can walk everywhere. Apart from swimming in the sea and enjoying the tavernas there is very little to do so I completely relax. It’s not easy to get there so often theses days but just thinking about it makes me smile and feel calm.
Flickering candle or minimalist diffuser?
Flickering candles forever!