Cassandra Smith is a designer and hand-weaver of richly-textured, sustainable textiles and lighting that create warm and luxurious interiors. Her unique design aesthetic fuses inspiration from her travels with her love of experimentation with natural materials and craft techniques. This creative, sustainable approach to design has earned her awards, inclusion in magazines and partnerships with The Campaign for Wool.
Originally from Montreal, Cassandra studied Building Engineering in the 90s, where her passion for architecture helped develop her problem-solving skills and formed her process-driven, experimental approach to design. In her post-university years, she traveled extensively, being drawn to new cultures, people and experiences around the world. It was during those formative years in her travels that Cassandra found herself obsessively photographing textures and patterns, which ultimately led her to London to follow a degree in design.
While studying Textile Design at Central Saint Martins her travel inspirations and her curiosity about how things worked led her to the Weave pathway; challenging her to understand pattern and structure in 2D cloth while exploring how to circumnavigate the restrictive nature of hand-weaving. Her final project combined fibre optics with knotting and basket-weaving techniques, earning her a 1st class degree in Textile Design in 2011 and the Cockpit Arts/ Clothworker’s award a year later.
After moving from her studio at Cockpit Arts, London, to her new home in Oxford in 2014, Cassandra began to experiment with a new range of materials, techniques and processes from different craft disciplines. Working with wool ‘roving’ (wool in its pre-spun state) and using her loom as her tool, she adapted techniques learned from tapestry-weaving, felting, macrame and spinning to develop a new style of weaving which took a more tactile approach.
Her richly-textured, hand-woven throws, cushions, art, wall-hangings and lampshades now feature simple, textured patterns that combine wool roving with injections of colour or dramatic features like the wool ‘fringe’ on her lampshades. Her choice of materials has also led her to a more sustainable practice that reduces waste by re-purposing her yarns and fibres by spinning new materials for future projects, sourcing all her materials from within the UK and emphasising quality-craftsmanship over fast-fashion.
Cassandra is incredibly passionate about weaving, design and sharing her knowledge with her clients, design professionals and the wider community and can often be seen ‘talking textiles’ during workshops at The Oxford Weaving Studio, on her new Domestika online weaving course and at various craft & design events around the UK. As such, she has had the privilege to work with many wonderful private clients and design professionals within the UK and around the world to create bespoke designs for their luxury interiors.