2020 - 2021
I NSPIRATIONS

THEANA 2020 – 2021 INSPIRATIONS

COUNTRY: GREECE

A sun blessed  paradise, birthplace of Democracy, Philosophy, Theatre, one could just go on and on, singing its praises. A country, rich in history, traditions and artistic creation, which began some 5000 years ago. From the Neolithic, Cycladic figurines that inspired modern minimalism, to the architectural wonders of the Classical Age, which continue being source of inspiration today, the marvels of the Byzantine times, the rich folk craftsmanship of the simple village people, to its wealth of modern artists today, Greece is a continuous pulsating cradle of creation.

Visiting  Greece during the years of economic crisis, which hit Southern Europe, Theana founder, Anat Shtark,  saw how women were  affected by the crisis, especially artists. Something had to be done. So, the country that gave birth to the legends of Olympian  Gods, but also of Goddesses, became the birthplace for Theana, a project proud to be returning, to female artists, modern day Goddesses,  their wings.

ARTIST OF HONOUR

Sculptress Mary Papaconstantinou


In memoriam


MARY PAPAKONSTANTINOU, sculptress 1933 – 2020

While working to realize our fist production, the THEANA team received news of Mary Papakonstantinou’s passing in November 2020. News that filled our hearts with profound sorrow. Mary Papakonstantinou was the inspiration behind our work, the very first THEANA steps into a journey, with a purpose to empower female artistic expression. And what an amazing inspiration she was. A brave woman, a true artist, a non-conformist, defying what social norms prescribed for the women of her time, she remained devoted to her artistic work, ‘till the end. Prolific work, recognized and celebrated the world over, rich in messages of bravery, independence, freedom, homage to motherhood and peace. All that is precious of our world. Mary Papakonstantinou was the first wind behind the THEANA wings, and will always remain the most important one. We bid farewell, with a huge debt of gratitude, a sense of inconsolable loss, and our deepest sympathy for her family.

 

The THEANA team

Mary Papaconstantinou was born in 1933 in the Greek island of Chios, legendary birthplace of Homer, father of the epic stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Her talent became apparent very early. According to an anecdote, she herself has revealed, when she was a little girl, one Spring day it rained for a while. When the sky cleared, children left their houses to go and play in the mud. Little Mary began making figures of little animals, like the other children. Soon the children’s creations where forgotten, lying around, as it happens. The sun dried the clay figures and the ones made by Mary stood out. The other children began asking Mary to make more and more of these beautiful, little toys. The rest, as they say, is history and in Mary’s case, national and international Art History.

Supported by her broad minded mother, Mary Papaconstantinou, left Chios, in order to study sculpture in the University School of Fine Arts, in Athens with teachers such as Yannis Moralis, one of the most prominent figures of Greek  modern art. She continued her studies in the London Polytechnic School of Fine Arts and broadened her artistic  horizons, inspired by some great sculptors, like Henry Moore. Her work followed the paths of modernism, abstract expressionism, but soon found her own distinct voice, focusing often on subjects concerning Women. Heroines of ancient or folk legend, fighters for peace, war victims, or survivors, women as symbols of independence, courage and strength. Her works grace cities around Greece and the world, as well as many private collections. Just to name a few: “Aegean Seagull”, in the U.S. White House, monument for the Working Woman, in Athens, the five foot Mermaid of Chios, Dove of Peace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Themis ((Justice), in Brisbane, Australia, Message of Peace, in Brussels, Belgium et.c.

Her work, which continues until today, has won, numerous prestigious honours and awards, at home and abroad, and has been featured in a documentary by National Geographic.

According to her own words, “Peace brings culture and culture brings peace”.

All of us at Theana, considered it a true honour, that an artist of this caliber, allowed her work to be interpreted in designs and embroidery creations on fabric. When the artist saw the designs proposed by our team, she received them with enthusiasm,  explaining that her work found a new life, a new way of retelling the story of women in a new medium.

FEATURED MATERIAL

Precious Silk from Soufli

It may not be widely known, but silk production was known in Greece, earlier than the fist century A.D. Roman writer, philosopher and natural historian Pliny the elder, writes about it, in his Naturalis Historia, calling the produced cloth, Coa Vestis, the Koan Fabric, as it was mainly made in the Greek Island of Kos.

Pliny mentions:

“These worms weave spider like webs, the material of

which is used to make  the  costlier and more luxurious garments  of females,….”, “…clothing which, while they cover a woman, they reveal her naked charms, at the same time.

(Pliny, Nat. Hist. XI. xxvi.76)

Silk production In Greece, reached its heyday in Soufli, during the 19th century adorning the finest garments, luxurious upholstery and wallpapers around the world. As the 20th century progressed, mass production and the introduction of cheaper fabrics weakened silk production in Soufli. In the 1980’s local individual initiatives and government support began slowly reviving its production. Soufli silk today, is steadily being rediscovered by luxury fashion houses, which invest more and more on local craftsmanship,  traditional weaving techniques and the production of one of the finest, silks in the world.

Theana is proud to be working with exceptional local artisans and producers of Soufli, dedicating its first collection mainly on this, luxurious material, with the unique quality to captivate the senses.

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