When Studio Four NYC co-founder Kate traveled in Scotland over the summer she met Edinburgh-based artisan Araminta Campbell. Kate was immediately taken by Araminta's self-trained knowledge in the craft of weaving and beautiful home decor collection. We are excited to share more of her story with you on Studio Stories
HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN WEAVING?
My weaving journey began with a passion for textiles - fostered by a wonderful teacher I had at Secondary School, which lead onto me taking a degree in fine art embroidery. In the final year of this degree I stumbled across the weave room and was completely captivated! I loved the extra dimension that weave requires, the way precise mathematical workings are combined with artistic vision. I have always had a natural way with numbers and I had never realized that this could actually have a place within my creative practice.
WHERE DID YOU LEARN THE PROCESS TO CREATE HANDWOVEN TEXTILES?
I don’t actually have any formal training in weave and have had to teach myself! After my embroidery degree I went on to spend the next three years devouring books, observing other weavers and practicing a lot of trial and error to get my weaving skill to the exacting standards I expect of my products. In many ways this has given me a different approach to weave design, as I have always thought outside the box and pushed the boundaries of the ways things have traditionally been done in the industry.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE TEXTILE DESIGN PROCESS?
I think the most exciting stage for any designer is seeing the design in your head translated into a physical reality. Ideas often pop into my head almost fully formed, but then there are many stages of developing that into a working design. It is always amazing when a new piece finally comes off the loom even better than I imagined!
IS THERE A COLOR PALETTE YOU FEEL DRAWN TO LATELY?
I am instinctively drawn to natural colors, and my British alpaca products are all created using completely undyed alpaca fleeces. This gives each collection a lovely subtle palette of natural tones; ranging from black and grey through to caramel, chocolate and white.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?
My greatest source of inspiration is the Scottish landscape. I am at my happiest when I am out for a walk in the hills, and this love of the natural world translates into everything I do. A design will often spring from a specific natural detail or motif I have noticed, whether that is the trailing branches of the willow tree or the delicate structure of a feather. I often describe them as my ‘woven paintings’ – as they are my way of capturing the world I see.
WE KNOW ITS HARD TO CHOOSE A FAVORITE, IS THERE A PARTICULAR DESIGN OR COLLECTION YOU FEEL ESPECIALLY PROUND OF?
My new MINTA collection is something I am particularly proud of. It has been a big challenge as I have had to translate designs which are usually so complex they can only be handwoven – into designs that could be woven by our small partner mill in the Scottish Borders. In the end I had to take the weavers through it step by step as it wasn’t something they had ever done before, but the result is really beautiful and so worth it! They have captured the essence of the designs I had in my head – you can see the organic patterns of the ferns and willow leaves which is something that is difficult to create in a woven design.
WHAT'S COMING NEXT?
Future plans for the new year include a visit to the USA (including NYC!) as well as selecting alpaca colors to bring out more colorways of our MINTA cushions and throws. I have also been working on bespoke designs for a luxury Scottish Hotel that will launch in the Highlands next year, and can’t wait to see how it all turns out!