Saturday, 27 June 2009

Ismini Samanidou - art weaver

Shani has discovered this wonderful weaver before me! Do read her excellent blog post.

I was listening to Radio 4 this morning and there, on the travel programme Excess Baggage, Sandy Toskvig (who it turns out weaves on a 4 shaft loom) was talking to weaver Ismini Samanidou, this is a quote from the Excess baggage web page: "about her travels from Mexico to Malaysia and from North Carolina to North Vietnam, looking at different kinds of weaving, the fables behind the fabrics and discovering what a pepper pattern can say about your mother-in-law."

There had a lovely conversation about weaving and the wonder of turning a thread into cloth. I was hoping that this programme would be available to "listen again" on the Radio 4 website, but it isn't at the moment. Something I particularly enjoyed about the programme is the modesty of this weaver, who was talking of the wonder of weaving and the weaving of people different cultures, not about herself although she is a talented and successful weaver so her personality did not obstruct the message.

However, I will talk about this weaver's own work and tell you that Ismini trained as a textile designer at the Royal College of Art and the reason she visited North Carolina is that she had designed a piece of art weaving that was being made on a Jacquard loom at the Oriole Mill in North Carolina, and this piece of work is being exhibited in London at the Jerwood Space 10th June to 19th July, and goes to Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh for August & September. There's more about the weaving exhibition (including some pictures) on this website:

I found more about her at:

And on this gallery website, where there are some good pictures, but to find them you have to first click on the text which is too small to read (this makes it zoom up to readable size) then there is another link:

I found some biographical stuff:

Ismini Samanidou, born in Greece 1977
1996-97 Camberwell College of Arts Foundation Studies in Art & Design
1997-2000 Central Saint Martins, B.A. (Hons) Textiles
2001-3 Royal College of Art, M.A. in Constructed Textiles.

An update...

I wrote the post about Ismini Samanidou in a moment of inspiration.

However, I know that there are many kind and thoughtful readers, including those of you who left messages on my last post or have e-mailed me about my health. Thank you so much for the caring and supportive words which have helped me get through the past month.

I don't like writing about me - the one subject I think rather boring! - however, it's only fair to give you an update, especially as this illness has become a major event in my life (if only because of all the things it has displaced).

The first three weeks of June were a great struggle, I couldn't think straight much of the time and going from a adrenalin rich lifestyle to getting landed in a sick bed brings a lot of emotional turmoil. Then, last week my brain started working again, in fact mentally I had times of feeling better than I've felt for maybe 3 years. (Oh dear, what have I been doing to myself!!) I'm still taking things very cautiously, I can concentrate on things for an hour or so at a time, I can manage a 1/4 mile walk or a short trip to the greengrocer's (by car). I still get very weary. I still have swollen glands in my neck that can get extremely uncomfortable - this stops my talking much and is eased by sipping water so I never let my throat get dry. I get blood test results on Monday, and I've told work not to expect me back next week.

I want to understand what is happening in my life and what the implications are for the future - I wander around dreaming up plans and then casting them aside. All I can be sure of is that today is o.k., so far. I have to pull myself back to living in the moment, as it's all I can expect to know or understand.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

June - a quiet month

This blog is supposed to be about my weaving, spinning and dyeing, not about me.

Temporarily, I'm writing about me. (I don't expect to leave this post in my blog archives.)

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I've had 'flu. Last week I felt a lot better. The week started with a glorious sunny Sunday and we went to a rare plant fair in the grounds of beautiful Adlington Hall. I found a some very good plants for the garden, a couple of geums, a vernonica, a couple of mossy saxifrage. I was still weak, but enjoyed sitting on a bench in the sunshine and talking to a lady who'd just bought a lovely magnolia seedling. Monday I felt better again, and I planted the new plants in the garden. Tuesday, another good day, I made bread, did the washing, drove down to the local patchwork fabric shop and bought cloth for the back of the patchwork quilt I mentioned in my last post (the top is now finished).

Wednesday and Thursday I went into work, it was o.k., although I was tired at end of each day. Friday, I was very, very tired, Saturday and Sunday all the virus symptoms were back, yesterday I was at the doctors. I'm signed off work for a full month and am having blood tests for 9 different things, I'm not sure what the tests are, but know some are for viruses that might cause symptoms similar to glandular fever (which I had when I was 18). I actually have only had 4 weeks in 2009 when I haven't had some sort of virus infection. It may just be that I've worn myself out and my immune system needs a break.

I actually knew a year ago I was getting more ill and for longer and needed to change my lifestyle. I had 2 part time paid jobs, and another voluntary job. I gave up the voluntary job and hoped for the best, but the other two jobs were both stressful, had at times conflicting demands, and I was working on 6 days of the week. Although only one day was full time I didn't have time on the one day off to unwind and be relaxed. I was very unhappy with the situation but didn't know which job to give up - neither paid enough to cover my living costs. By the time I got more hours work from one employer and resigned from the other, I was already run down and ill with flu and struggled to work out a week's notice just before Christmas, before spending the holidays ill. Took me two months to get fully better, but I wasn't well long before I had a sinus infection, eye infections, then flu again.

I think you'll understand if I'm not blogging for a while, I shall be quietly resting and looking after myself, maybe some knitting, some spinning, no weaving for a while.