Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

01 Dec

Cockpit Arts Christmas open studios 2012


The last time I was at Cockpit Arts studio, I was there to interview Tamasyn Gambell. I remembered walking up the corridor in the East Wing of Cockpit Arts. Flanked on either side of the corridor were large closed studio doors. Above each door is the resident artist’s name plaque. It was surprisingly quiet. As I craned my neck for a sneak peek, I soon realised this was a working silence, as artists were in their studios busy at work.

Yesterday evening was my first opportunity to meet the artists and see their work, as the studio doors were flung open for a Christmas sale. This open studio will run the whole weekend, so do go and explore.

I have selected my favourite talents below:

Catarina Riccabona is one to watch. A definite new and emerging talent. She is a textile designer and weaver who studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. This year she won the Cockpit Arts Clothworkers’ Foundation Award.

It was lovely chatting to Catarina and finding out about her work. She tells me that her hand weaved cushion covers, throws and scarves are made from linen, wool and alpaca, all ecologically sourced from home and Europe.

I love the way the fabrics feel and how the muted blocks of colours, asymmetrical in configuration and pattern, fuse and merge. They are stunning in an understated way. They would make beautiful gifts for Christmas.

My next encounter was with the talented Sian Zeng. I have been admiring her work from afar for a while. She was lovely in person and most down to earth. As we talked, I felt as if I have known her for a while.

Originally born in Shanghai, she later moved with her parents to Hungary. That lead to us to comparing notes about how fluent we both were, or rather not, in Mandarin.

She graduated from Central Saint Martins in textile design. Her company now specialises in wallpaper, interior accessories and gift items. She won the Elle Decoration 2010/11 young talent of the year award. A rather interesting fact about Sian Zeng is that not only is she an amazing creative talent, she has an Economics degree under her belt too. Sorry for outing you Sian Zeng, but I found this most admirable.

Her magnetic wallpaper is one of her design triumphs. So innovative and beautiful with an unexpected quirky eclecticism. I love its interactive element, you can move the specially illustrated magnets that compliment the wallpaper design, to create your very own bespoke theme. You can even write on the speech bubble magnets to create some humour.

Do visit Sian Zeng’s studio this weekend. I bought one of her DIY bear cushions as a gift. Her Red Riding hood prints are also beautiful and witty with a twist.

Last but not least, is Mary Fellowes’ bright and beautiful prints for Mary Land. I first noticed her work for sale in High Tea of Highgate, where I occasionally go for that indulgent piece of home-made Victoria sponge.

Mary used to have a studio in Cockpit Arts, and now joins the long list of talented alumnae exhibiting their work at the Open studios this weekend. Originally a potter, Mary has diversified into printing.

I love the bright cheery happiness of her prints. In fact, I bought one that evening. You can buy on-line too.

I hope you have enjoyed my round up review of the Cockpit arts open studio. There are lots of other amazing talents there. If you are interested, there are also numerous specialist jewellery studios there to explore. Signing off now, wishing everyone a great Saturday.


    1. littlebigbell Post author

      Thanks Ursula. I can see Sian’s wallpaper gracing some of the amazing rooms you do up x

  1. What a lovely smile Catarina has!
    I went yesterday and tried to track down the magnetic wallpaper but couldn’t find the studio. It was E2O or something but it went from E2N to E2P so I gave up. Perhaps it was like the Hogwart’s platform.

    1. littlebigbell Post author

      that’s so funny annie 🙂 I think she was sharing a studio with another designer so maybe that’s why it was difficult to find. Hope you enjoyed it, did you buy anything? I spent a bomb! x

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