Interview with Capstone Student Sabrina Pinello

We all know someone who lights up a room when they walk in; someone who emanates warmth and kind-heartedness; someone who makes each person they come across feel special. Today, I am happy to introduce you to our fun and friendly beacon of positivity, Sabrina Pinello. 

My name is Sabrina Pinello, and I am a Senior Textile Design Major. I am from Long Island, New York, and I am the creative type who always needs to keep my hands busy. As well, I love to be active and am super involved on campus!

How did you choose Textile Design as a major?

It’s quite the ironic story as to how I chose Textile Design as my major. Junior year of high school, I saw a career counselor at a community college, recommended to me by an older cousin, and that was the best thing! I’ve tried all the online career quizzes and research on how to pinpoint what your desired career could be. With that being said, at my meeting with the career counselor, she asked me what are my hobbies, what do I like to do that brings me joy? My answers consisted of everything from arts and crafts, specifically DIY’s, painting, crocheting, sewing, and even baking. The bottom line is “hands-on” for me! The career counselor began to list majors she thought fit that description and would pull up the “definition” of that major along with different potential colleges to attend. When she mentioned Textile Design, I vividly remember her pointing to and pulling her cable knit sweater and saying “this.” I automatically said no, that’s not it. Fast forward to a few months later, I was pretty frustrated, and feeling stuck that I couldn’t figure out this big life question at the age of 17. My mom said, “how about that major Textile Design?” I looked it up, realizing I didn’t fully understand what it was. When I read the description and saw it consists of weaving, knitting, and print design, I was sold! 

When did you learn to knit/weave/print, and who taught you?

I took my first weaving class sophomore year of college with Bridget Foster, an amazing professor. Bridget Foster, I would say, is definitely a mentor of mine because she has inspired me to pursue my passion for weaving. Her class brought out that spark and love I had inside of me for weaving. Through her successful teaching methods, patience, and passion for what she does, I believe she has truly pushed me forward in all the best directions. 

Who are your design heroes?

My design heroes are most of the Textile Design professors such as Marcia Weiss, Becky Flax, Meghan Kelly, Bridget Foster, and Jen Rhodes. I don’t say this because they are my professors, and I want to be on someone’s good side. By no means is that the case! I truly mean that they are my design heroes because, since day one, they have been there to encourage, inspire, assist, and honestly care for me as an individual and my work. They have only looked to assist in pushing my work forward to be sure I’m ready for the professional world of design. What I have learned from them cannot match any price tag. I feel so lucky to have been inspired and taught by these lovely ladies. I look up to them for how they got to where they are today, how they have built their design careers, and how they’ve taken what they’ve learned and applied to the professional world. That drives me to do the same! 

Tell us about the colors, landscapes, artists, or architecture that inspire your design work.

Bright, cheery, colors inspire my design work as well as rustic and muted toned colors. I feel the reason I find bright and muted colors inspiring my design work is because of the scenery that inspires my work. These are very naturistic scenes—specifically, the varying shapes and sizes of florals, trees, and the underlying and apparent textures. The variety in animals (shapes, sizes, colors, patterns), the mountains and how they’ve formed naturally, waterfalls, how rocks have fallen, and broken off into something mesmerizing; the list goes on. Within all of that, a wide array of colors can be found. All those elements bring me peace, joy, and inspirational happiness!  

What do you have on your knitting machine/loom/sketchbook today?

Currently, in my sketchbook, I have a woven piece made from wired jute, wool, and mohair yarn, pom-poms, and straw material. The wired jute ribbon (which is a woven Mock Leno structure), I manipulated into a warp, in which I glued into my sketchbook. To do so, I railroaded the ribbon 90 degrees and cut out the “filling” yarns, so I was left with long vertical strands to provide me a warp. This is an experimental piece for a décor pillow that I am going to weave on my easel loom. I’ve annotated some things for future reference. 

What kind of music do you listen to in your headphones?

I mainly listen to country music, but I also listen to pop, rap, R&B, and hip-hop when I want to switch things up!

What are your hobbies? How do you make time for them?

My hobbies consist of working out, specifically running, crocheting, baking, researching healthy alternatives, because that’s always been an interest of mine, going on Pinterest, and staying up-to-date with the social media health & fitness influencers I follow on You-Tube. With the very crazy and involved schedule I have, the way I make time for the hobbies I love is to incorporate them into my day of work when I feel I need a break. After weaving for quite some time, I may feel I need to look away because I’m having a hard time generating ideas for a new sample, or I’ve been staring at the sample I’m making for so long I begin to second guess myself. That’s when I say to myself that taking a half an hour to go to the gym or going on a run will be more beneficial in moving forward, rather than standing at my loom for an unproductive hour. It may even mean taking 5 or 10 minutes to scroll on my phone or check my Snapchat because I’m feeling fidgety. I will give myself that break. For things that take more time like baking, I’ll do that on the weekend and plan out my schedule for the day in advance so I can give myself that break to do something therapeutic.  

What is your favorite thing about Textile Design?

There is no one thing I love about textile design, it’s more like textile design in its entirety. The freedom is yours, you can create anything from woven to knits, to prints, and potentially any size you wish. It’s such a creative environment that makes me feel I can set free and take off. I can let that creativity inside of me free and experiment through all forms of mediums, constructions, yarns, textures, etc. and as a kid, that’s all I wanted to do. Now, I get to do that every single day, and that’s more than I could ask for. The support from faculty is outstanding. Even more so, we, as Textile Designers, are a family. The studio energy is welcoming, inspiring, uplifting, and energetic. Competition between students doesn’t exist. We will all go out of our way to help one another and pay that forward. The community created in our studios is a unique one that can’t be beaten. 


Meghan Kelly

Meghan Kelly is an assistant professor of Textile Design at Jefferson University, where she teaches Knit Design Studio and Knitting Technology to undergrad and graduate […]

Add comment