Paula de Santis Smith
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I trained in Fine Art but have always used textiles in my work, I have developed my skills over the years, learning new techniques and working in different materials. I have produced commercial textile pieces, garments & fashion accessories, as well as costume for theatre & carnival. I prefer to make bespoke pieces that are often complex using difficult materials. I have always enjoyed learning new techniques - such as garment construction, sublimation, print and felt making, machine & hand embroidery, manipulating & moulding fabrics, eco prints & rust dyeing etc.
de Santis designs is my commercial textile website which showcases fashion accessories to wear and for interiors, it is where I show my new experimental work and fabric samples.
Artisantis is a website which showcases more sculptural fine artwork, including highly embellished cloth, constructing both two and three dimensional, textile work. I re-construct old garments and turn them into highly ornate art works. My work is very labour intensive and time consuming, embellishing and re-constructing uniforms. The re-construction of my three coats has taken years to complete, they are heavily embellished, cumbersome, awkward and they relate to each other with dangerous consequences. They are embellished with pins, magnets & swarf. These highly decorative, armored garments have transformed from coats into sculptural pieces. My obsession for repeated pattern and reparative processes became part of my everyday practice. It has given me a sense of productivity, familiarity and provided a safe-haven for my thoughts. In 2016 / 17, I exhibited works at Shape Arts: Anxiety & Judgement Day - two pieces which were very relevant at the time and a response to my long period of ill health. Shape Arts is a disability-led arts organisation which works to improve access to culture for disabled people.
I have worked in Art Education for most of my career as a teacher, tutor, lecturer and manager with different art organisations, whilst also exhibiting my own fine art / textile work in London. I was most recently involved in a commission for the designer Paul Smith in collaboration with the Rottingdean Bazaar stylists in a book featuring my textile designs. I have two websites: www.desantisdesigns.co.uk for my commercial textiles work and also a fine art textile website www.artisantis.co.uk .
My new work is experimental and explores mixed media including felt, rust, embellished with stitch. My themes are habitats / dwellings and the environment. I always try to work with recycled materials and natural fibres.