Specialising in Japanese textiles crafts – shibori resist work, katagami stencilling, sashiko and kogin embroidery and indigo dyeing, Rob is inspired by movement/fluidity, repeating patterns and obsessed with circles and waves, which can be manipulated in many ways to create new forms and textures. Starting with a traditional pattern, Rob frequently breaks or combines patterns to create new and original forms. Patchwork, cutting and re-piecing are also used to extend these ideas.
Rob started his textiles journey at West Dean College, where he had formerly spent many hours taking jewellery classes. In 2011, unable to find a jewellery class which appealed, he chose to try his hand at shibori and indigo dyeing. It was a lightbulb moment for him and where his abiding passion for indigo and Japanese textiles crafts was ignited.
A random discovery on Pinterest led him to Japan and his sensei, Bryan Whitehead and his immersive Japanese textiles workshop in the mountains near Tokyo in 2014. The workshop was a deep dive into Japanese textiles, its history and development, with intensive hands on making and dyeing in Japanese indigo using shibori and katagami stencilling. It is here that Rob found his ikigai, his reason for being, and which led him in 2015 to becoming a full-time textiles artist and teacher. Rob returns to Japan every year to extend his practice and introduce new students to Bryan's work and ethos.
Recent work is based on the depiction of life's ups and downs using arrows and wave forms, inspired by a vintage Japanese 1920s katagami stencil Rob discovered in Tokyo in 2019. Rob says "I wanted to balance the negatives of my mother's vascular dementia diagnosis and end of my long-term relationship with the positives happening in my creative life - dyeing outfits for Tinie Tempah and Zak Abel for Levis, and teaching at West Dean College, the Japan Society and South London Gallery."