Mariam Syed is part of the Scottish Pavilion at London Design Fair until 24 September
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Mariam Syed, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and her favourite part of the making process.
Who or what got you into making
Growing up in Pakistan, I was mesmerised by all the beautiful and vibrant textiles everywhere. Pakistan has a rich textile heritage and I was attracted by the vibrant colours and the rich patterns. I got into weaving because it is a perfect balance of creativity and use of mathematical skills. I love the mathematical element of weaving and the challenge of transferring my design ideas onto fabric.
Working with my hands to create objects has always interested me and I find weaving extremely relaxing, invigorating and stimulating. The beauty of weaving is that it is influenced by a lot of factors like the colour, type and thickness of yarn, patterns, weave structures, etc. which makes it unique and personal to the weaver.
Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
I am a passionate woven textile designer based in Glasgow who loves weaving and exploring new weave techniques. I design and weave rugs and fabrics for interiors. I also design silk scarves which are woven in a traditional English mill.
My design practise defines everything I am passionate about: weaving, vibrant colours, architecture and geometry. A mathematician at heart, geometric patterns are quite central to my woven designs and I love the challenge of constructing new weave structures from my primary research and drawings. I enjoy weaving with reclaimed and sustainable yarns to create ethically responsible fabrics. I have a deep interest in Pakistani Truck Art and my love for vibrant colour is evident in my woven textiles.
What are your inspirations?
I am from Pakistan and a lot of my inspiration comes from my city, Karachi. I love the bright Pakistani trucks set against the magnificent Pre-colonial British Architecture in the old town of Karachi. I love the explosion of pattern and bold colours on the trucks and picking out pops of colour in the otherwise dull city buildings. I try to achieve the same boldness of colour in my woven designs and try to balance the vivid colours with beigey neutral tones of the buildings.
I also derive inspiration from the Bauhaus weavers and find the works of Gunta Stölzl and Anni Albers absolutely fascinating. I enjoy reinventing traditional weaving techniques and exploring complex weave constructions to discover new designs for a contemporary audience.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
I enjoy every aspect of the making process from drawing and designing to planning of the weave construction and technical sampling on the loom but my favorite part is testing out my ideas on my hand loom.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I am developing a menswear collection using 100% silk and my signature vibrant colours in the double cloth weave construction.
See Mariam's work as part of the Scottish Pavilion at London Design Fair, open until Sunday 24 September.