Q&A with Celina Mancurti: A Passion for Textiles
Tampa textile designer Celina Mancurti grew up in Argentina in a crafty home where her mother made all the clothes for her and her four siblings. As a young girl she developed a passion for creating, showing an early interest in patterns, colors, shapes and textures.
“Today I cannot picture myself doing anything different,” says Celina, 43. “I love those mornings when I head to my studio, turn on the music, put on my old apron and start preparing the table to cut or print fabrics.”
Since moving to Tampa four years ago, she has developed a local following, though her main customer base comes from the Northeast and California. Her handcrafted linens, including tablecloths, napkins and aprons, are sold through her website, as well as at the St. Petersburg retail store Being.
Earlier this year she expanded her collection to include several other items, including exquisite dishes and crochet pillows.
Here Celina talks about her love of textiles, turning her attention to sustainable products, and working with linen and denim.
You can find more information about her her “everyday linens for everyday life,” at celinamancurti.com.
What motivated you to become a textile designer?
I wanted to make a career through crafting and being creative. While pursuing my degree in textiles, I began working part-time at an old textile mill that specialized on printing silk for ties. I worked with the production team creating color combinations for clients, while observing the artisans with delight. I can summarize this experience with three simple words: I LOVED IT!
How does your Argentine background influence your work?
I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, and moved to the States 11 years ago. My roots, culture and background from my lovely Buenos Aires are the imprint of my designs, style and my life. How I work and what I do is just an extension of who I am.
In Argentina people love to get together. People do not move as much as here. Family and friends usually stay in the same city their entire lives, and they gather for supper all the time. Suppers last for hours -- with endless conversations and plenty of wine. I want my linens to motivate people to celebrate friendship, to set a nice table for family and friends, and to create beautiful memories. That is what my mom did for us.
What is it about organic fibers that is appealing to you?
When I moved to the States, I began teaching textiles at the University of Delaware. It was there that, for the first time, I heard the word “sustainability” in the fashion industry, as well as what can be done to make sustainability a priority for brands and consumers. Since then I have been influenced by eco-friendly notions, turning my vision toward sustainable products. That's why my handmade collection is crafted with 100 percent linen fabric, hand-printed at my studio.
Do you have favorite items to create?
Today one of my favorites is the floor pillows. I love to dye the linen, and enjoy the adrenaline from the unexpected results and the imperfect beauty that makes every piece unique. After many years of working just with linen fabric, I have decided to incorporate denim into my collection. I am excited about the new denim aprons and placemats because I see denim as a timeless fabric that has been built into an American icon.