Four questions for Maddalena Forcella, Madda Studio
For the first installment of our "Living with Nature" series, we spoke to artist, textile designer and founder of Madda Studio, Maddalena Forcella.
“My work would not be possible without the gifts nature gives us in terms of colour.”
Originally from Rome, Maddalena has been living in Mexico for over 25 years, working with — and learning from — small communities of traditional artisans. In 2016, together with sustainable development expert Marie Farneth, she established Madda Studio in Oaxaca, producing rugs and homewares for the international market, including Baea’s range of Nuno cushions and throws.
In the studio — a melding of natural fibres, tradition and culture
Tell us about a place in nature that’s special to you.
There is a particular light on summer evenings in the Roman countryside near the coast: the temperature is sweet, the landscape turns golden. More than a special place, I would say these images remain in my mind as moments of intense living. For me, feeling happiness and communion with nature is linked in large part with memory and the senses.
How do you Let Nature In?
Through the wind — this is how I feel that I connect with nature. It can be a refreshing breeze after a hot day in the city of Oaxaca — when you feel relief and gratitude — or a whirlwind on the coast that almost prevents walking, reminding me of the strength and energy nature is capable of. The sea and the beach allow me to regenerate physically. For my well-being, I need to visit at least once a year.
Paws for thought — 'For my well-being, I need to visit at least once a year'
How does nature influence you?
My work would not be possible without the gifts nature gives us in terms of colour. My practice of plant dyeing is at the heart of all my work, both at Madda Studio and in my paintings and collages. This interest comes more from a fascination with processes than from a botanical vocation — I’m fascinated by the alchemy inks and pigments. I actually spend much more time in my studio than outside in nature.
Tell us about something you’re currently working on.
In these months of confinement, I’ve been able to dedicate more time to my art, trying to go deeper into painting with natural pigments. I'm using acrylic as a base, and pigments I prepare by precipitating plant dyes. Sometimes I agglutinate them with egg yolk — the tempera technique. I’m currently working with mixed media, integrating pieces of fabric by sewing them directly onto canvas.
Find out more about Madda Studio via their website and follow them on Instagram. See below for more about our throws and pillows made in collaboration with Madda Studio.
Dyed in the wool — natural dyes are an essential part of Maddalena's practise
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