Catarina Riccabona

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.

Selection of Work

Hand-woven throw and towel. Photography by Gareth Hacker, image courtesy of The New Craftsmen.
Hand-woven throw (approx. 105x180cm), linen and second-hand wool. Photography by Gareth Hacker, image courtesy of The New Craftsmen.
Detail of a hand-woven linen cushion (approx. 69x69cm).

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.

Hand-woven linen, wool and alpaca throws. Photography by Gareth Hacker, image courtesy of The New Craftsmen.
Hand-woven linen and wool throws, could be used as picnic blankets.
Detail of a hand-woven throw in neutral colours (undyed linen, alpaca and wool yarns).
Hand-woven linen and Jacob’s wool throw. Photography by Gareth Hacker, image courtesy of The New Craftsmen.
Close-up of a twill weave structure in a throw (undyed linen and second-hand orange and white wool).
Hand-woven linen and wool cushions on display at the Cockpit Arts Open Studios June 2013.
Hand-woven linen, hemp and second-hand wool cushion (approx. 68x68cm). Linen and alpaca throw (over the shoulders).
Hand-woven alpaca and linen throw with some second-hand wool. Photography by Gareth Hacker, image courtesy of The New Craftsmen.
Detail of three large, square linen cushions (approx. 69x69cm).
Three medium-sized linen cushions (approx. 58x46cm) with plant-dyed wool and second-hand wool and cotton yarns. Undyed linen, alpaca and wool throw.
Hand-woven fabric, just cut off the loom, for throws.
Hand-woven undyed linen and second-hand wool throws on a linen cushion.

Studio

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.

Smaller loom and warping mill for making the warp. The warp is the set of threads running lengthwise in the loom.
Selection of yarns wound onto cheeses (bobbins) to be used in the weft.
The wider loom is computerised (flat box on top connects to a laptop) and has a weaving width of 150cm.
Stock wrapped in plastic bags as protection against moths and dust.
Alpaca and linen throw during weaving on the wider loom.
Roll of hand-woven fabric for throws (linen and wool), just cut off the loom.
Threading up the loom. Each warp thread needs to be threaded one by one through the eye of a heddle.
This process is called beaming. The warp is wound onto the back beam of the loom. A comb-like device called raddle spaces the warp ends evenly across the desired width.
The raw material: linen yarn on spools and a plated warp. The plating keeps it untangled during the transfer from warping mill to loom.

Shows and Events

3 May - 11 June 2016

Showcase at The New Craftsmen
34 North Row
London W1K 6DG
thenewcraftsmen.com

2 - 5 June 2016

Cockpit Arts Summer Open Studios, Holborn
Cockpit Yard
Northington Street
London WC1N 2NP
Opening Times:
Thurs 6pm-9pm
Fri, Sat & Sun 11am-6pm
cockpitarts.com

10 - 12 June 2016

Cockpit Arts Summer Open Studios, Deptford
18-22 Creekside
Deptford
London SE8 3DZ
Opening Times:
Fri 11am-9pm
Sat & Sun 11am-6pm
cockpitarts.com

Contact

Address
Catarina Riccabona
Studio 303 Cockpit Arts
18-22 Creekside
Deptford, London
SE8 3DZ
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