Meet the Maker: Rob Jones
An interview with maker, designer and new short course tutor Rob Jones, who'll be joining us at the Arts and Craft Festival, 31 May - 2 June 2019. He tells us about his company, Romor Designs, and what inspires him to design and produce his beautiful textiles.
Rob, tell us a bit about Romor Designs and how it started...
Romor Designs was formed in the autumn of 2015, following a bucket list trip to Japan in 2014 to study Japanese textiles and indigo dyeing with international textiles guru, Bryan Whitehead. I'd been practising Shibori since 2011 after several courses at West Dean, but it was the Japan trip that really kick-started my business. I just fell in love with Japan and, when I was made redundant in 2015 it just felt right.
Who and what are your biggest sources of inspiration?
Bryan Whitehead is my sensei and now a good friend. He encouraged me to set up my own business and has been incredibly generous sharing his skills and insights. He's spent 30 years in Japan immersing himself in Japanese textiles tradition and making.
My work takes traditional patterns and stitches and reinvents them. I combine different stitch patterns to make new ones and often cut and re-piece shibori patterns to make original textiles, working with indigo and natural plant dyes.
What are you currently working on?
I've just had some templates made to create new patterns. These are principally for Katagami stencilling work but will also be used in my Shibori and Sashiko embroidery work too. I'm also just starting to think about making a big indigo quilt.
What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to step into textile design?
Learn your craft first, get really good at what you do. This can only come from many hours of practice. Focus on the work and making the best things you can, develop your own style. I'd also recommend joining a group of likeminded people. I joined the Muswell Hill Creatives three years ago, and having the support of other talented makers at different stages in their practice had been invaluable both for their advice and for giving me the confidence to try new and bigger things.
What are you looking forward to most at the West Dean Arts and Craft Festival?
I'm a long time fan of West Dean, having been there over 15 times as a student and I'm now teaching the Shibori Summer School too. I love everything about the place: the house and gardens, the great food and the wonderful people I always meet when I come.
It's where I go to to recharge my creative batteries. Can't wait to be there again! It's my first time selling so that will be a new experience too.