Photos by @internetbby 2019

Photos by @internetbby 2019


River working in her studio in 2017. photo taken by @ericwatersphotography

About RIVTAK handmade

RIVTAK, short for founder River Takada-Capel's name, is the progression of River's creative heart and mind.  All products and packaging are made from remnant and salvage material, so most items are completely waste free!  Focusing on the use of found and salvaged materials, River is always experimenting with new projects, products and workshops ideas.  River embraces the spirit of re-use by investing in high quality materials that are left behind by factories, pre-consumer remnants, giving them a second life to serve a function in our everyday lives.  

The brand is a collaboration of things River loves & her fascination for crafting with her hands. Ranging from Sewing, Dyeing, Screen Printing, Vintage shopping and mending, Mobile and Jewelry, etc.  River carefully crafts each piece around a purpose... adornment and awareness.  With as much creativity, confidence & musing thoughts as she has, the RIVTAK customer requires playful adornment with the edge of an educated consumer.  You are invited to join River on this journey through slow fashion and how a lifestyle filled with handmade things can bring joy into one's life.


About River Takada-Capel
Creative Entrepreneur, Fiber Artist, Instructor, Homemaker

River Takada-Capel has a life long love affair with all things textiles, handmade and vintage.  Rooted in all her work is a reclaimed story, an element of preloved beauty.  Starting at a young age, River discovered a passion for working with her hands, she started sewing on the machine in 3rd grade.  

Born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in Carrboro, NC, River grew up with an appreciation for the constant change in nature, & the beauty of functional art. Now in her early thirties, River is focusing on teaching sewing and textiles classes, sharing her passion, in addition to her love of designing new products. River is an art and LGBTQ community advocate who turned her dream of creative and social practice into a passionate career. On most days, you'll find her in her studio, located in Durham, NC, designing, sewing, screen printing and outside dyeing fabric. When River is not working for her business, she is teaching fiber arts at community centers around the state. She has taught at The Scrap Exchange, The ArtsCenter, The NC Museum of Art, Freeman’s Creative, NCSU Craft Center and many small private groups. River loves to work with kids and adults, empowering folks by sharing the creative and vocational powers of sewing and other textile skills. 

Interview about teaching kids to sew with Love to Sew Podcast!
Listen below or on any podcasting platform, Episode 75.


WHAT IS RIVTAK handmade? This is a growing lifestyle brand and the progression of clothing and accessories designed and hand crafted by River Takada-Capel.  This brand is a on-going project for my love of craft, fashion and photography. RIVTAK, established in 2007, has since bloomed into something bigger, deeper and more passionate. River is incorporating her social practice of teaching textile and business classes to kids and adults who are interested in be their own bosses.  RIVTAK handmade is the umbrella space where River releases her many mixed media product lines including clothing, home goods, prints, jewelry and workshop series. 

WHAT DOES THE NAME MEAN?  RIVTAK is short for my name; River Takada-Capel.

HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE YOUR LAST NAME? “TA-KA-DA_C-AA-PELL”. This is my Japanese mother’s name and my Scotch-Irish father’s name.

WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR MATERIALS?  My goods are made from materials that are recycled, found, and reclaimed> Upcycled and Salvaged.  I get my materials from thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, clothing swaps, factory remnants and donations from the giving hands of many people.

WHERE CAN I FIND YOUR THINGS FOR SALE?  I currently sell my  jewelry, handmade and vintage clothing in 10-12 stores, all women owned!  Check out the stockist page for addresses and hours.  
I also sell online, the web boutique is filled with workshops and speciality items.
View our Events Page and follow on instagram for updated markets like the Patchwork Market in Durham and comic cons around the South East US.

WHERE CAN I TAKE A WORKSHOP?  I currently mainly teach all ages workshops in Durham at Freeman's Creative in Lakewood Shoppes in Durham; The ArtsCenter in Carrboro; and NCSU Crafts Center in Raleigh. You can find up-to-date events on the Calendar.   I teach pop-up workshops at other businesses and art spaces, just drop me an email if you are looking for textile and craft programming.   I have also taught workshops at The North Carolina Museum of Art, Duke Arts Annex, and been a studio assistant at Penland School of Crafts. 
I teach adult and kids classes at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro and the Scrap Exchange in Durham.   I teach Indigo Dye Workshops in the Spring-Fall at my studio in the Spring-Fall.  You can book a private party with me via email {rivtakhandmade@gmail.com}.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?  Textures, function over form, organic shapes in shibori tie dye, geometric designs and textiles with a history.  I combine my education in textiles, weaving, dyeing, screen printing, and sewing; with my interest in fashion to make trendy, eco-conscious, ready-to-wear clothing, jewelry and home goods.  >>When I was 17, I moved to Tokyo to live with my grandparents and worked at a cake and tea house called Christie in Toshimaen.  This gave me a serge of freedom, independence and adventure.  When I wasn’t working, I was walking around Tokyo, riding the subway to random locations, exploring back alley ways, sightseeing and window shopping.  I saw the most influential art, fashion and beauty of life that were scattered all over the place.  Now in Durham, NC, I am inspired by the other entrepreneurs and artist making their mark on the community.  I combine trendy inspirations from my style muse friends, and international travels, along with the use of found materials and draping on a dress form to design my clothing and accessories.     With wonderfully artistic parents who gave me Monet poster art, a hand built doll house, hand sewn clothing and delicious food from this earth; I have had the ideal up bringing of a creative mind and it is hard *not* to find inspiration in everything!  

Studios photos taken @ericwatersphotography in 2017

Studios photos taken @ericwatersphotography in 2017

WHO IS THE TEAM BEHIND THE BRAND? I, River, am the executive designer behind the brand.  I design, re-design, sew, screen print, dye, source fabric and materials, cast models and photographers, style lookboooks, design and make shop displays and equipment, edit photographs, guerilla market, etc.

> Kate Tracey is the admin queen!  She has helped streamline marketing and wholesale admin in a working internship.
>My mom, Kazuko Allen, sews my home goods, napkins and tea towels.
>Lee Crawford Moore is my champion and collaborator, creating new projects together, encouraging me and writing copy for my online store and website.

I work with local photographers, to capture the styles I put together with handmade and vintage items.  I pull a lot of inspiration from my friends/model muses, and love collaborating with my stylist friends.  Interested in Modeling, Photographing or generally interested in becoming a member of the team?  Email me!

WHEN DID YOU START MAKING THINGS?  HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING THINGS?  For as long as I can remember I have loved clothing, dressing up, collecting little trinkets and making things.  I started making clothing for my dolls  and was taught how to sew on a machine in 3rd grade by my mother, who is also a textile enthusiast.  Now I have been sewing for 20 years!  I learned how to screen print, weave and dye fabric in college.

DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL FOR THIS?  College education wise, I went to SCAD for my first year of college, then continued Haywood Community College (Clyde, NC) where I immersed myself in an intense 2 year study in fibers; weaving, dyeing, printing and small business.  I was fortunate to learn about textiles from Catherine Ellis and Amy Putansu- amazing instructors and inspiring textile artists.  I also received support from the Fiber Handweavers Guild of Western North Carolina and the Asheville Quilt Guild.

WHAT MAKES YOU ECO.ECO FRIENDLY?  I practice an Eco.Eco (Economical.Ecological) business style where we recycle everything and source as many things second hand or discounted as possible.  We make an effort to reuse every fabric scrap in new products like turban headbands, coin pouches, gift cards, etc. By being economically conscious of our overhead, we can pass those savings on to you, our supportive customer!  That is how we can bring you handmade and affordable products with a small footprint.  With our economy on the midst of a recession, it is more important than ever to be kind, thoughtful and sharing with the people around us.  I believe in sharing knowledge of my craft and educating people so that in small ways we, together are making a big difference.  I believe in actively supporting other artists, musicians, farmers and businesses in the local area.  Join me in supporting Independent and Local – it makes our economy go around!  Please share this website with a friend.  You are the best advertisement and support I can have.  Thank You!

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?      Born in Tokyo and raised in Carrboro, NC, I have come to love and appreciate the buzz of the city and ease of a small town.  I have collected inspiration from high fashion and art of Tokyo and gained support in my ever growing community in North Carolina.  I grew up in Carrboro, NC, went to Chapel Hill High School, and graduated in 2004.  I have also lived in Tokyo, Japan, Savannah, GA and Waynesville, NC.

WHERE ARE YOU CURRENTLY BASED OUT OF?  My path has brought me full circle back to the area I grew up, the Triangle of North Carolina, where I live in Durham.  I am self-employed with a studio practice and teach anywhere on the east coast.