Catarina Riccabona is a textile designer and weaver. She designs and makes cushions, scarves and throws. Each piece is hand-woven on a traditional loom and produced from start to finish in her studio in Southeast London.
Her work is inspired by tribal textiles, vintage linen towels and grain sacks as well as by memories of textiles from her childhood like mattress ticking or antique kilims. The look of her work is also determined by her eco-friendly choice of yarns: linen, hemp, wool and alpaca (all undyed/unbleached and sourced from the UK and Europe). Coloured yarns are plant-dyed, recycled, second-hand (from donations) or the natural colour of the animal fleece.
Catarina studied Textile Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She started her textile design business shortly after joining Cockpit Arts in 2012. Please email her to arrange a studio visit or commission work.
Catarina’s pieces typically do not follow an overall design. Much of her work is based on block threading, where warp threads are divided into groups (blocks) during the set-up of the loom. These groups of threads can then be individually controlled during weaving. The blocks can either be made to look the same all across the warp or different weave structures can be applied to them. Catarina uses this technique to highlight or tone down colour and to create a textured look. Exploring these design possibilities results in a variety of juxtaposed textures and subtle contrasts. The finished pieces are carefully planned and precisely executed yet the overall look is one of irregularity and randomness.
The studio is based at Cockpit Arts in Deptford, Southeast London. It’s on the top floor and very light, with a view over residential and industrial buildings, rail tracks, the Laban Dance Centre and Greenwich Park with the Observatory in the distance. There are two looms in the studio. Most of the work is woven on the wider loom, a traditional 24-shaft loom with a weaving width of up to 150cm. Several processes are required to set up the loom before the weaving can begin. The wide loom is computerised. Catarina prepares the weave structures for her designs in a weave software. This makes switching between patterns quicker. But setting up the loom and weaving itself are carried out by hand and take time.
2 North Terrace, Alexander Square
London SW3 2BA
Cockpit Arts Open Studios, Deptford
London SE8 3DZ
Sat & Sun 11am-6pm