Luisa de Santi is an artist and designer from Trieste, Italy. For more than fifteen years, she worked in the theatre world, specialising in puppet theatre. Then in 2000, she became a full-time fibre artist, creating wearable art and three-dimensional sculptures in crochet.
Luisa, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became a textile artist?
I started my "textile journey" as a little child and I've never stopped. Both my mother and my sister were into knitting and crocheting and my grandmother was a great expert knitter too! When I was a child it was something I did to look like an adult. In my teens, it was a way to make something unique to wear. In my life as an adult, it was a tool for a journey in my mind.
Crochet is a major medium for your work. What is it about crochet that you enjoy working with it?
In my life, I have made a lot of different things. In the last 15 years, my focus has been on 3D creations, mostly made using crochet. I like my creations to be compact so they have to be stuffed and sometimes worked with overlapping. Crochet is the perfect technique for creating stiff elements that keep their shape.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
I find my inspirations in my everyday life. I was born and live mainly in an amazing place in Italy, where nature is beautiful. The woods are full of nice natural vegetation. There is a kind of shrub (named sumac) whose leaves in autumn become burgundy, red, orange and fuchsia. In the undergrowth, there are a lot of amazing insects and birds, soft moss and mushrooms. A simple walk is an incredibly inspiring experience.
Has your theatre career influenced your art?
Training in puppet theatre offered me the opportunity to learn a way to explore an incredible world of expressive possibilities. Puppet theatre is much more than a way to tell a story: starting from an abstract idea, puppetry can elaborate on emotions in an abstract language and in an abstract 3d space. Puppetry is a fantastic world where everything is possible and it has been a big influence on my way of thinking.
What can visitors to The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show expect from your exhibition, Magical Crochet Spells?
I hope that they can leave for some moments their reality and visit mine. I don't want to give specific messages except the fact that reality can have different forms and faces. I hope that they can enjoy a little vacation on another planet and come back with a feeling of happiness. I'd like to use this wonderful opportunity to promote crochet and knit like art languages.
Luisa De Santi’s exhibition, Magical Crochet Spells, is at The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show, Olympia London from 28th February – 3rd March 2019