Welcome back to our new monthly blog series, Meet Our Makers, introducing you to the talented artists and makers we showcase here at Hesta Scene. This is our third instalment so if you've missed the previous features be sure to catch up on reading them here.
This month we meet Catriona Archibald, a talented ceramic artist and knitwear designer based near Carlisle. Catriona has a reputation for bold knitwear, colourful ceramics and is inspired by mid-century design and nature. If you have ever visited our Caldbeck shop on a Sunday, there is a good chance you have met Catriona who is also part of our creative team.
Over to Catriona...
Tell us about your work, what you create and what inspires you
My Name’s Catriona, I’ve lived in Carlisle since 2007. I’ve always worked a day or two alongside being self employed. I’ve worked for Hesta Scene since 2015, getting out of the house, chatting to people, having a change of scene and a wild swim on the way home (!) really helps me focus and keeps me inspired.
I’ve always been creative and made things and after a 3 month trip to Estonia in my gap year, where I worked for a pair of textile artists, I belatedly realised people could earn a living from making and selling their work. After another 6 months of travelling I came back to the UK and started a degree in Contemporary Applied Arts. I always intended to go down a textile route but got side-tracked by Ceramics! It all came full circle though, as when I started at Hesta Scene in 2015 I fell in love which machine knitting and helped design and produce knitwear collections for the shop until the end of 2020.
I create a range of slip cast and hand built ceramics and machine knitted accessories from my home studio in Denton Holme, Carlisle. After making my basic shapes from porcelain I hand paint my ceramics in bright colours and monochrome patterns. Glazes are used to create texture and contrast. My knitwear range also features bright colours teamed with monochromes and the odd bit of animal print! I mainly use lambs wool (dyed and spun in Yorkshire) and cashmere saved from landfill by small companies like mine buying cone ends from UK knitting factories.
I am really inspired by Mid Century textiles and furniture. I love everything about the colour combinations, textures and angular lines. I also gain huge amounts of inspiration from being out in nature, looking closely at flowers, plants and lichens- they’re the most incredible colours!
My favourite makes are my “Wonkie Cubes” They’re a slip cast cube base with hand build additional cylindrical openings on top- perfect for hedgerow pickings, dried flowers or broken stems from the garden. Combining my signature bright colours, spot and stripes, they’re angular, awkward and just make me smile!
Graduating from university in 2010 with a First Class Hons. gave me an incredible foundation to build my business and creative life. However over the past couple of years I’ve been looking to expand my practice and build on the sculptural side of things. I went back to University in 2021 to do a part time MA in Glass and Ceramics at the University of Sunderland. I’ll finish my course in October 2022, the journey has been incredible although a lot tougher than I had imagined- I’m so looking forwards to exploring, experimenting and further building my artist practice as well my more commercially minded work when I finish.
Once I’ve finished my MA, I’ll be focused on Project Skye. I have a big move to the Isle of Skye Planned for the new year- it’s a very exciting prospect. I’ve worked in my current studio for 10 years, so setting up a new one will be a big task. However I’m looking forward to spending lots more time in the sea and exploring the Hebrides, which I’m sure won’t fail to influence and inspire my work.
Thank you to Catriona for sharing her story with us. You can find a selection of Catriona's ceramic and knitwear ranges in the Caldbeck shop and don't forget if you pop in on a Sunday you can meet and chat to artist Catriona in person.