Hole & Corner Selects: Maria Sigma
Words Vilma Paasivaara
Photographs Pelle Crepin
In the Elements Issue, Maria Sigma speaks about her zero waste philosophy, her love for wool as a material and how her work connects back to the earth…
‘I would say the most fundamental element in my work is the zero-waste philosophy and the use of natural materials,’ says weaver and textile designer Maria Sigma, who creates pieces for interiors and fashion from her London home studio using un-dyed or naturally dyed organic fibres.
The overarching ethos in her work is sustainability. ‘I’m trying to create the minimum of waste yarns – no unnecessary cuts and minimum use of machinery, energy and water,’ Sigma explains. The concept of reducing waste runs through her entire practice – from design to making and packaging. What started as a part of a university project has now become an intrinsic part of her work – one that Sigma says she relishes. ‘It’s a kind of challenge for me. It puts more limitations on my work – and I enjoy that.’
Though she works with a range of natural fibres, Sigma claims her current favourite is British wool which is sustainably and locally sourced. ‘First of all, as a feeling – to touch – I really like it,’ she says. ‘And how it changes after manipulating, after I’ve woven the cloth.’ Sigma often likes to experiment with different washes that bring out an almost three-dimensional quality in her textiles. But it is the making and weaving process that she enjoys more than holding the end result in her hands. ‘Everything has to be preplanned – even the mistakes sometimes,’ she says. ‘Of course I enjoy the end result, but it’s nothing compared to the process.’
Though the names of her designs often reveal maritime references, Sigma says that she thinks of earth as the most fundamental aspect of her work. ‘It just comes to me naturally,’ she says. ‘My fibres are either animal or plant-based, so it’s more connected to the earth than any other element. But I think for me the four elements mean a kind of balance: you need all the elements in order to acquire a balance in your life – or in your work.’