Catarina Riccabona weaves wonderful, colourful, slubby linen textiles, the kind that call out to be stroked and explored. The cloth is handwoven in small, limited editions with different weave structures and combinations which keep your eyes gently dancing over the fabric. Catarina also has an admirable ecological philosophy, using a lot of undyed, plant-dyed and recycled yarns. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work below.
Tell us a little about what you make? I’m a textile designer and hand-weaver. I make functional pieces such as throws and blankets, sometimes also scarves and cushions. But my focus is definitely on throws and blankets. What materials do you use? Linen is practically in every piece I make (there are only a few exceptions). I love to work with it and I love the aesthetic of linen. It tends to become more beautiful with use. My practice is based on an ecological philosophy, so I use a lot of undyed yarns like linen, hemp, wool and alpaca (from the UK and Europe) as well as plant-dyed, second-hand and recycled yarns for colour. What techniques do you use and why? Weaving by hand (as opposed to working with a mill) gives me a great deal of flexibility in terms of weave structure combinations, irregularity and yarn types. I use this fact in my throws that could be described as whole compositions rather than repeat designs. One of my favourite techniques is block threading. During weaving you can separate out certain groups of threads and make them do something different to the rest. I like to play with this kind of juxtaposition of colour and texture. What/who inspires you to make your work? I admire the quality and feel of many tribal textiles. That trace that’s left from the making process by the human hand… small variations, irregularities, imperfections. There is something honest or even innocent about such pieces. Sometimes they seem to have been made quite intuitively. For me it’s a kind of timeless beauty that is also warming and comforting. How/where do you sell your pieces? I sell directly from my studio at Cockpit Arts, Deptford, (by appointment) or during our twice yearly Open Studios. I also sell through places like The New Craftsmen and other independent shops/galleries. From SS15 Liberty will have my work too. And I work to commission. Please recommend a good book? ‘Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox’, by Victoria Finlay. My first year tutor at Central Saint Martins who taught us colour theory recommended it. Each chapter is dedicated to one colour and lots of peculiar facts about it… Any plans/ideas for the future? From 26th to 28th February I will be in residence at ‘Atelier’ run by The New Craftsmen. During London Craft Week I will be weaving in St James’ church (Piccadilly, 7th & 8th May)! I also look forward to the opening of Field Gallery in Bruton, Somerset, in April 2015. In the more distant future there could be a very exciting collaboration project on the horizon but I’m afraid it’s much too early to say anything about it.
Thank you Catarina!