Wind of Change

Saz Mifsud’s latest collection of silken wares – Sirocco – takes its inspiration from precious pottery that dates back to 5 th century Malta.
Written by Veronica Stivala
Dreamy hues in varied shades of claret and teal run through Saz Mifsud’s latest collection of silk attire. The recently launched collection, which takes the form of scarves, bags, and hair accessories  is poignantly important to the designer, because of its strong connection with her homeland: Malta.
Speaking about the inspiration, Saz Mifsud confides: “This collection is a particularly special one because it takes me back home; where an archaeologist handed me a Maltese pottery fragment from 7,000 years ago. He showed me its wonderful textures under a microscope, formally referred to as fabrics. These fabrics are important to him, as they tell stories of the past, its people and their craft, helping him understand who they were and how they lived.”

Prehistoric pottery fragments from the Ghar Dalam phase, kindly loaned to Saz Mifsud by the University of Malta, Department of Classics and Archaeology. 

The fabrics in turn took on a special meaning for Mifsud, which she has immortalised in her silk designs. Holding a piece of pottery created such a long time ago makes her feel connected  with the past peoples of her country in a curious, soul-stirring way. “I am inspired to bring these textures into the present and use the microscopic imagery as a starting point to create the designs you see before you today,” muses Mifsud.

Low resolution microscope image showing a cross-section through a prehistoric pottery fragment.

The designer took the collection’s name, Sirocco, from the warm Saharan wind that frequently drifts over the Mediterranean Sea. Just like the wind, Mifsud’s imagination took flight as she used the extraordinary microscopic patterns to populate her collection. In her mind’s eye she saw the tiny dust particles fly in the wind, hoping to be given new life as they were turned into clay and moulded into shape by a crafty potter. 

In this way, owners of Mifsud’s silk designs will have their own link with the past, and the future too. In Mifsud’s words: “The silks they are printed on will outlive their maker, just like the pottery fragments before them did, connecting generations through time,” muses Mifsud.

Fossilia Silk Shawl: if you look closely, you might spot elements from the microscope image above in this design. 

So, be it a flowing scarf to drape around your shoulders, an eye-catching hairband to give your look a touch of class, a dash of colour for your ponytail’s scrunchie or a striking silk bag with a bold, beaded strap, the Sirocco collection offers to connect its wearers to past and future in luxurious silk drapery.

Special thanks to Dr John C. Betts, engineer and senior lecturer at the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta. Dr Betts teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students and researches pottery fabrics. His work includes the coordination of the EU-funded Maltpot project and the CoFIPoMS project.