London based Rob learnt his craft on many short courses at West Dean college near Chichester and from studying Shibori and indigo dyeing in the autumn of 2014 with Canadian ex-pat and indigo master, Bryan Whitehead at his stunning mountain home in Fujino, just outside Tokyo. He became a full-time textiles designer in September 2015. Rob works at his studio underneath a railway arch at the back of Broadway Market in Hackney combining traditional Japanese Shibori and other resist dyeing techniques with indigo and natural dyes. He is a firm believer in mindfulness, savouring each moment that we have and actually taking in the world around us, being present and enjoying life and starting each day with a mindfulness meditation to get him in the right frame of mind for leading a creative and productive life.
Shibori itself is a slow craft, often with many hours of stitching, binding, clamping and pole-dyeing followed by more hours at the indigo vat or mordanting, dyeing and over-dyeing fabric to be transformed into lampshades, throws, cushions, table runners, napkins, scarves and other textiles. Rob has recently been part of MADE London and a pop up shop and exhibition 'Colour Saturation' at Craft Central in Clerkenwell.
I am passionate about Japan and slow craft. Historically the Japanese have made no distinction between art and craft, with the choice of materials and processes used being just as important as the end result. They also embrace the idea of 'wabi sabi' reflecting freshness and quietness with beauty and serenity and stating that nothing is ever perfect and that's a good thing in my mind. Excellence and beauty don't have to be perfect. This approach matters a lot to me as many of the hand crafted items I make are subject to randomness: the tightness of the stitches used, the variations in the strength of the dye and the type of water used can all contribute to interesting effects. This often leads to unexpectedly beautiful variations on the planned result. This makes every piece unique, a one-off, an important aspect of what I believe in.
I am often influenced by nature, particularly movement, in water, in clouds and in the forms that plants and trees take and in the contours and language of rocks and stones. Many traditional Japanese shibori techniques reflect nature and are named after things from nature such as 'Kumo', spiderweb, 'Yanagi', willow, and 'Karamatsu', larch. I like to take these techniques and modify them to product original patterns and forms.