Faye Chatzi

Faye Chatzi | lesoleilfoundation

Faye Chatzi

Faye Chatzi

Looms are yet again in fashion! This time, they take us to Mykonos where weaver Faye Chatzi holds her distaff and spindle and weaves the threads through the warp, adhering to a thousand year old tradition.

Thus, together with other young artists who also honor tradition, she revives the Ancient Greek weaving techniques, investing them with a highly successful fresh look and modern style.

L.S.: What was the reason you decided to explore the ancient weaving techniques and what exactly does that involve?

F.C.: My love for the rich weaving traditions of this landled me to a truly original and creative path,the path of the Ancient Greek weaving techniques. I learned the art of mastering the loom from local weavers of the island; further more, a woman who was sincerely touched by my passion, patience and persistance actually gifted me her own traditional loom. Thus, my journey began!

Weaving is one of the oldest human activities, dating back to the Neolithic times.

L.S.:  Are you involved in collecting the wool from the sheep as well? What is the exact procedure?

F.C.: My love for the art of weaving in combination with an ecological approach, led me to the ancient art of weaving.

While at Mykonos, I happened to notice that the fleece from shearing the sheep and goats was thrown away or even burned. Seeing all this raw material wasted, I began to collect it from local farmers. Thus, I was familiarized with the entire fleece-related process, such as the shearing, the cleaning and washing, the carding and processing, the spinning, until the final stage of weaving the threads using the loom in order to produce the hand-woven textile the way it was produced during the Antiquity. So,this is the way I process cotton, silk, merino and alpaca wool which I buy as raw material.

Then, I proceed into designing the template in order to create each garment using fabric entirely produced by my hands, resulting into a truly handmade creation, a work of art whose every thread is part of the cultural heritage of weaving which tends to wither nowadays.

L.S.: Was the transition from the traditional loom to the production process such an easy task?

F.C.: The unique combination of the rich traditional past with the understated modern luxury allows me to present you with a collection of distinct kaftans, skirts, tunics, dresses and accessories weaved with natural threads made of Souflisilk, cotton, wool and linen, decorated with discrete, loom-made patterns. The production is limited, ranging from a one-off piece to a series of numbered garments or accessories given that everything is handmade from step one, i.e. from the raw material to the finished product.

L.S.: How difficult is it to weave? Does it limit your pattern choices?

F.C.: Loom weaving has become an integral part of my life, so personally I see no difficulty in it. I would admit though that I see myself dedicating endless hours for each creation; however, I would describe that as a deeply meditative process.

To be honest, I have not felt that the technique creates any restrictions in terms of patterns. I believe restrictions only dwell in our minds; once we liberate our spirit, allowing it to be connected with our imagination, then the possibilities are literally endless!

L.S.: How many hours of personal labor does ittake to create a garment?

F.C.: Taking a shawl as an example, I would say 4-6 days, given that as I said before, the process used starts from collecting or processing the raw material to weaving it at the loom. For instance, the average estimated time for the Minotaur dress was 3 months. It was truly an honor that this garment was part of the exhibition “Contemporary Minoans”, which took place in November 2019, at the Museum of London, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and the NGO Branding Heritage.

L.S.: In your opinion what are the advantages of such garment?

F.C.: I sincerely believe that for every handmade creation, which incorporates parts of the designer’s soul, the result we experience goes above and beyond what is expected.
Apart from the esthetic value, I believe the object of my work is directly related to ecology as well as to a fundamental local development aspect, given than it is a product of tradition and culture, which contributes to the differentiation of the industrial product.

L.S.: What are you preparing for this year?

F.C.: A part from the SS20 collection entitled “Νinemia”, which includes numbered items, I have been preparing a line with one-of-a-kind dresses, weaved in the universal ancient way, inspired from the Hellenistic period.

L.S.: What are your normal sources of inspiration?

F.C.: I spent hours at museums, studying the Ancient Greek civilization. The Doric order, with its simplicity and austerity, mesmerises me.
Undoubtedly, Nature also plays an importantrole, providing us with endless opportunities forinspiration and artistic creation. These past years of my life, I was fortunate enough to reside in a magnificent island, Mykonos; the energy and the beauty of this land are indisputable.

L.S.: In your opinion, how is it that we can ensure our traditions shall survive?

F.C.: Countless social customs and traditions have been preserved throughout the years, a witness of our roots. I believe that we should not let theart of weaving falter or even disappear, given that our cultural heritage is of universal value, for us as individuals but also as communities and societies. This is why it should be further preserved and bequeathed to the future generations.