We are really excited to have the opporunity to speak with this special "Modern Muse" - Christiana Vardakou.
Hello Christiana- let's start.
Where are you right now?
Right now I am at my new studio and showroom in Athens, Greece. It’s after six, so we are closed and it’s my favorite time, it’s quiet, my dog Ito is sitting by my feet and I’m finishing off admin work before walking home.
How would you describe a good day for yourself?
A good day is a sunny day! It starts with a big walk with my dog, we first go to a little field, I set him free and throw tennis bowls for him to catch for about 20 minutes. Then we go to the bakery, get some coffee and walk to my studio. I usually spend an hour doing admin work in the morning, I don’t really like admin work, but it feels good to check off things from my list in the morning. A good day consists of me doing a bit of all my favourite textile techniques. So, going to the natural dyeing kitchen and prepare some dye, while they are simmering, bundle dyeing some silk scarves or doing the batik technique. We always cook and eat lunch together in the studio with the girls, I love making big salads. If the weather is good we sometimes go sit at the park close to the studio to eat lunch. Then coming back to the studio and weaving until we close at six. Then, a walk back home with Ito, and a nice meal and drinks with friends, listening to some live music maybe, or driving somewhere close to the sea!
Photograph by Ioanna Morfinou
What brings you inspiration?
My main source of inspiration is Greek Nature. It provides me not only with a colour palette in natural dyes, but also with a variety of shapes and textures that I incorporate in my prints and drawings. For example, the Aegean Sea, the Greek mountains but also wild flowers and plants found everywhere, during Spring. A trip to Iceland in 2016 as well as my trips in South East Asia and Japan in 2018 & 2019 definitely filled me with extra images, colours, shapes and ideas that I still use as inspiration daily.
Which part of your job is your favorite?
I love creating, I love weaving, bundle dyeing and batiking. However, my favourite part is collaborating and making custom-made items. While I was in university, I came across the “Emotionally Durable Design” philosophy, something I’ve tried to incorporate in my studio's philosophies. It explores the idea of creating a deeper and more sustainable bond between consumers, designers and items/clothes. That is why I offer made-to-order services. I love it when a client comes with ideas and we create something really special together, something that might one day become a loving heirloom.
What colour describes you best?
Very difficult question! I think I am mostly drawn to earthy muted tones such as dusty pink, sage green, terracotta, light grey and burnt orange/brown. I basically love all the colours I make from plants, which all have earthy hues and I love how they all match together, just like in nature. Wearing these colours or being surrounded by them, grounds me and makes me feel one with nature.
Are you in love?
I am in love with my everyday life now, I love my new studio/showroom, it’s energy / atmosphere and the girls that work here. I am in love with the fact that I have this job, everyday I wake up excited to go to work and create. I feel very connected to nature, going on hikes almost every weekend with Ito -I am in love with Greek nature and everything it offers.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a new collection of silk scarves. Recently I decided I want to take a break from creating clothing, and focus more on textures and textile techniques, pay more attention to the fabrics rather than clothing collections. I am also making some custom made pillows for a villa in Crete, they are all hand-woven on my floor loom.
How do you define success?
Success for me can mean different things. Success is waking up every morning excited to start your day. Success is raising a puppy. Success is creating a space that is 100% you. Success is travelling to many countries and learning about different cultures. Success is having healthy relationships with your family and your close friends. Success is having people that don’t know you personally, believe in you and your ideas. Success is starting your own family. Success is being honest and not being afraid to be yourself everyday.
Photograph by Ioanna Morfinou
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Sensitive. Stubborn. Determined
Modern Muses that inspire you and why?
Women and men who are driven, who have dreams and goals and who do whatever they can every day to achieve them. I am inspired by people that don’t settle down, by people that like learning new things each day, by people who try to reach their full potential every day.
Thank you so much for this interview Christiana. I really admire what you do and getting to know the thoughts/ journey behind it - is truly inspirational. Your sustainable artisian techniques as well as your kind character are characteristics of such a good leader. Wish you all the very best.