IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT IS CASSANDRA SABO DESIGNS?
I launched my brand in 2017 when my children went to school, as I wanted to create textiles that brought together my curiosity for fibre craft techniques with hand-weaving. Through this exploration I found new ways to adapt the forms and materials from various disciplines to create luxuriously tactile and sustainable art, interior textiles and lighting, using my loom. Through this process, I became aware of the “waste” materials from my designs and found ways to repurpose the wool by hand-spinning and hand-dying offcuts into new yarn, which, in turn, is woven into new designs. This discovery changed the focus of my business, enabling me to weave art for the home that is functional, beautiful and sustainable.
WHAT DREW YOU TO WEAVING AND TEXTILES?
I studied engineering in Montreal as a young woman, as I loved the challenge of solving problems and I was fascinated by how things worked. However, it never gave me the opportunity to be creative. It was only when I moved to London and discovered textiles and weaving as a design discipline at college that I found I was able to combine my various skills and become a confident creative through materials, problem solving and the use of a loom.
DO YOU FIND WEAVING TO BE THERAPEUTIC?
I find weaving to be incredibly therapeutic. The precise nature of setting up a loom, choosing materials and weaving row after row enables me to focus only on the task at hand.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE KEY PRODUCT THAT HAS BEEN SELECTED FOR THE MAKERS’ MARKET AT THE ROYAL EXCHANGE
My newest lampshade design, West Coast, is the latest product in my West Coast collection. It features my signature wool roving flowing around the drum in a winding path, as a stream would flow through the forest. Woven on my loom and hand-crafted in my Oxford studio, this lampshade is next in a line of sustainable lampshades that I will be sharing at The Makers’ Market.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST CHALLENGING BESPOKE COMMISSION TO DATE?
My first-ever lampshade woven using wool roving was by far my most challenging commission, as it came early in my career. The product was actually the result of a design challenge that I needed to explore further and my client was willing to support that journey. Over a period of two years I created over 20 iterations to try and resolve the various issues and, ultimately, my client and I found the perfect resolution that now forms the basis of many of my lampshade designs.
HAS SUSTAINABILITY ALWAYS BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Sustainability has always been important to me, but creating a sustainable brand has proved to be more difficult. I have always enjoyed working with natural materials with my weaving. However, finding ways to be sustainable when you are creating a variety of products across your brand is challenging. Through education and a lot of experimentation I have found ways for my products and business to follow a more sustainable path, while still staying true to my brand.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CRAFT INSPIRATIONS?
I love the work of Windy Chien, an American macramé artist who has taken her craft to mainstream design. She has elevated her work by creating installations from this humble craft. I am also heavily inspired by the natural world. I am drawn to natural forms in nature as well as the colours and textures I find on my travels.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT PEOPLE CAN DO TO SUPPORT INDEPENDENT BRITISH CRAFT?
Shop independent British craft and design whenever possible! Makers in the UK are of the highest quality, and if you find a brand or creative that embodies your values and/or you connect with their story, then you will both be benefiting from the shopping experience.
- Favourite film: Stand by Me
- Designer or brand you would most love to collaborate with: Toast
- Podcast recommendations: The Fiber Artist with Cindy Bokser (at Niroma Studio)
- If you could own one piece of art (regardless of price), what would it be? Dotted by Anni Albers
- Favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe: Denim jumpsuit
- Music album that left a lasting impression: The Joshua Tree by U2
- Go-to snack: Wasabi peas
- One Instagram account you recommend following: Meg Spitzer (@meg.spitzer)
The Makers’ Market at The Royal Exchange is on from 10-13 May 2022. Cassandra will be hosting an exclusive weaving workshop on Thursday 12 May from 3pm-5pm. Book your place here.