Aurifil 2016 September Designer of the Month Katarina Roccella

Aurifil 2016 Design Team Sept Katarina Roccella collage.jpg

I’m Designer, Author, Radio show host Pat Sloan.. Our September Designer is the super talented Katarina Roccella, fabric designer for Art Gallery, see all her collections.


We have had an instant connection from the first time I walked in her booth. It is the highlight of my day anytime I can stop and have a chat with her!

This May we talked for my show..Listen to my June 6, 2016  talk show CLICK to Listen or subscribe by Itunes

Let’s get to know  Katarina!


Where do you live and what is your favorite spot there?

I live in downtown Belgrade, the capital of the Republic of Serbia.  Belgrade is situated in South-Eastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. It lies at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers in North Central Serbia, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkan Peninsula. Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe and since ancient times it has been an important traffic focal point, an intersection of the roads of Eastern and Western Europe. Its history goes back 7,000 years. The area around two great rivers, the Sava and the Danube has been inhabited since the paleolithic period.


The hill overlooking the Sava and Danube confluence is called Kalemegdan and it’s Belgrade’s central park and my favorite place, just a short walking distance from my house. It is home to several galleries and museums, restaurants, kid’s playgrounds, sports courts and the Belgrade Zoo.


From there you can easily reach Knez Mihailova street, the main walking street and center of Belgrade. As the epicenter of culture and history, Knez Mihailova was named one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in Eastern Europe.


When was your FIRST quilt sighting? 

Not counting the many amazing quilts I was able to see online via Flickr, my first quilt sighting was a beautiful vintage French quilt (made by hand in the early 1900’s) that served as a prop for the film “In Secret”, that was filmed in Belgrade in 2012.  I was lucky enough to work on art props for the film and it absolutely got me thinking about the idea of making some quilts myself.  I have enjoyed sewing kids clothes since the arrival of my first daughter, 15 years ago, but my love for quilts is a more recent passion.


 Did you have a career prior this, what was it? 

I was a freelance graphic designer, printmaker and painter (doing mainly linocut prints, calligraphy, illustrations and paintings).


After getting my Master’s degree in Arts, I also worked as a teaching assistant for the Drawing and Painting department at the Faculty for Philology and Arts in Kragujevac (a city near Belgrade) for ten years.


I am currently working towards my PhD in Applied Arts and Design and my goal is to combine printmaking and painting with textile and quilt design.  I am dreaming about making a huge exhibition (hopefully next year) with installations that would integrate these fields of art and design.


Have you had a ‘light bulb’ moment in making 

The first quilt I made was in 2013. It was made with some of my fabrics (printed through Spoonflower) in combination with some other designer fabrics I had in my stash. I tried to draw some ideas on paper and to develop them further on my computer to get better idea about the shades and colors.


Since I didn’t know much about the proper quilt making and quilting techniques I pieced it entirely on my serger (lol)!  I was also naive enough to think that Drunkard’s Path is a great beginner unit, ha!


Well, the final result wasn’t so bad, considering the fact that I pretty much didn’t know what I was doing. Of course, I learned a lot from those mistakes, but I still didn’t realize that the serger is not a proper way to piece quilts.


So, it was only after making my first quilt with Indelible fabrics for my first booth at Quilt Market and meeting Cristy Fincher (who was kind enough to point out to me that little mistake and tell me about the Quilt Police too, haha), that I understood that a serger isn’t used for quilts. That was probably my “light bulb” moment in quilt making, together with learning all the fabric preparations prior to piecing, like good starching and ironing.

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What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it? 
We have a small house with a beautiful garden in the countryside hills, called Fruska Gora, near Belgrade, where I have a tiny studio where I paint, draw and have my printing press.


In our home in Belgrade, I don’t have a proper sewing room or a table that is all just mine (except the for small one that has my computer on it), so any corner of our home can easily become my work space: it can be a couch, the floor or a table.


I love creating in the open air, so the porch of our countryside house is one of the most inspiring places for my creativity, being surrounded by the sounds of the nature and the happy voices of my kids playing nearby.

Both of my parents and my sister are also artists (my father is a painter, my mother is a pottery artist, while my sister is a production designer), so having a home that works partly or entirely as a studio as well, is a way of life for me (ask my husband what he thinks about that though, the fabrics jumping out from every closet and the mess in the house, haha).

Of course, I would love to have a bigger space where all my creative work could be gathered and accomplished, so I dream about that option. My husband does too. 😉


Do you have a GREAT storage, organization, or label making tip?

I love my Ikea magnetic rack & tin jars that are used for handling my sewing labels.

What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?

Although the1148 (2BH) would possibly be my all time favorite Aurifil color, and the most beautiful shade of teal blue, I am equally in love with the 1240 (2LC) (deep plum).


It was included in both of my Aurifil thread boxes: Indelible and Voluminous. Besides those colors, my absolute must haves are 2021 (2DQ) and 5004 (1MP).


Anything else you’d like to share?

I am so excited about what’s to come next in my fabric design area. I cannot share much about that yet, but I can say that the color blue will be a great part of it. Also, my AGF family never cease to amaze me with new, exciting projects and ideas, and I am looking forward to seeing them come to life.


What is it about blue that inspires you? 

My favorite shade of blue is teal or turquoise. If I could, I would place it in each fabric collection, because I never get bored of it.


It’s the most beautiful color of the sea and a color that looks so live, intense and refreshing.



DOWNLOAD ‘Into the Blue’-Katarina Roccella



•    Right handed or left handed.. And can you use the other at all? Right handed, only.

•    What is your Favorite childhood TV show? Little house on the Prairie. I enjoyed watching it, especially seeing the dresses that the girls were wearing.


•    Are you a Dog or Cat person? We have a golden, named Noa who is a true family member. He’s my faithful helper, always putting his paws on whatever I create. 😉 We also have a gecko lizard, two guinea pigs and two fish tanks. My son is dreaming about having a Zoo when he grows up, lol.

•    The snack you crave – Pistachios and all kind of dried fruits and nuts.

•    The Color you have always LOVED.…. Teal and purple.


All the links that you want to share.

Visit Katarina at

Pat sloan Aurifil 2016 DOM block 2.JPG

I am having so much fun with these blocks, using a totally different colorway. I am deciding on my colors. Should I do one shade like Katarina? or several?    click over to my site, which is where you enter YOUR block in our Monthly Challenge .. you could win a box of my thread next month!


Are you on Facebook? I have a fantastic quilt group with the most incredible show and tell going on! You should see it! JOIN me HERE … I’d love to meet you!

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******* JOIN our Aurifil Family  *******

EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block.. that person will receive a special Aurifil thread prize! Winners are all contacted email

For more Aurifil project photos visit our FLICKR PAGE  HERE


Our RANDOM picker this month selected Kathy!  She has WON a BOX of Aurifil thread! Such gorgeous blocks entered .. see all the great versions HERE

REMEMBER – The Photo entry is moved to my website where more people can enter, right HERE


  1. Love this new block and reading about Katarina’s home, city and creative spaces. Her art is beautiful!!!

  2. Beautiful block and lovely bio. I wondered about the safety of her and her family considering the unrest in Serbia.

  3. Beautiful block. Thanks for sharing it. I loved reading about Katarina and the beautiful city she lives in.

  4. Oh how I love this blog post!! I am so lucky and privileged to share the same roots and heritage as Katarina, and I am so happy that the rest of the world gets to know it too! USA is my home now, but Serbia is my Motherland and beautiful city of Belgrade my place of birth.
    When you read her story and see all these beautiful images – no wonder she makes all those magical designs in fabric, that we all are so inspired with and can’t wait to see new ones! <3

    1. She is a true artist.By reading about her I can see that she has such a passion to express her talent in so many ways.She puts colors and patterns together that are different and give someone ideas to try in their own work.I love her patterns.The gardens that she is close to must be a great inspiration to her! 🙂

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