Flax & Madder Wall Hanging I

Catarina Riccabona
Flax & Madder Wall Hanging I by Catarina Riccabona is part of the ‘Plant Explorations’ collection, facilitated by The New Craftsmen. Earlier this year, The New Craftsmen invited a select group of craftspeople to the Economic Botany Collections at Kew Gardens to examine and creatively respond to a myriad of objects and their narratives. The collection delves into humanity’s ever resourceful and ingenious making traditions with plants. In this work, Catarina traces the story of flax becoming linen; a material that has been a constant in her work, with its timelessness and distinct aesthetic character. Inspired by a garment from Kew’s Economic Botany Collection that features a visual juxtaposition of tightly woven fabric against raw plant parts, Catarina’s wall hanging contains both unprocessed and semi-processed flax, as well as fully-processed (spun) linen. Visually, this work moves from less structured, unruly areas at the bottom to increasingly more organised higher up in the piece. The thick rows of flax roving across the centre of the piece show the inner fibres, when they have been freed, cleaned and combed but not yet spun.

Material: Linen, flax, brass bar
cm: Width 61cm, Height 92.5cm
inches: Width 24in, Height 36in
Care Instructions: Dust with a lint free cloth. Keep out of direct sunlight, some fading might occur over time and is part of the nature of the piece.
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This piece was hand-woven by Catarina on her floor loom. During her visit to basketmaker, Hilary Burns' studio, she learned to break flax plants using a traditional wooden flax brake that serves to break the outer hard layers of the stem to reveal the softer, almost hair-like fibres in the centre - hard, loud and messy work. Rather than remove the inner fibres, she incorporated these still messy stems into the piece. For making the stripes in the warp, Catarina had to wrap twenty one separate sections, eleven of which were then dyed by hand with natural dyes. Inspired by her learnings at Hilary Burns’ Devon studio, Catarina used a madder root dye on the linen to achieve the soft pink colour which runs throughout the piece.
The Maker Catarina Riccabona Textile Artist - South East England

Catarina Riccabona is a loom weaver, working with natural materials such as linen, hemp and alpaca producing intricately woven throws, cushions and textile art. Since graduating from Textiles at Central Saint Martins, Catarina has gone on to develop her interest in sustainability, heavily influencing her creative approach. Drawing inspiration from tribal textiles, vintage grain bags and linen towels, each of Catarina Riccabona’s pieces are hand woven on a traditional loom from her studio in South East London.