Meet our teachers: Rob Jones, Shibori
We are so excited to now have Shibori classes on our class timetable! Rob Jones is a London-based shibori textiles designer and natural dyer. He is the founder of Romor Designs was formed in the autumn of 2015. Rob’s passion is in finding the new in the old, building on the tradition and centuries of skill that shibori has behind it. He believes in taking work in new directions by combining techniques and inventing his own forms.
We are super happy to welcome him to our teaching team with his Beginner Shibori classes.
Question: How would you describe your style in 5 words?
Answer: Traditional with a modern twist
Q: We are super excited to have your Beginners Shibori classes on our timetable! For those who do not know, what is Shibori?
A: Shibori is the ancient Japanese craft of shaped resist dyeing fabric, often with indigo. It comprises of hundreds of techniques including binding, stitching, clamping and folding and pole binding. The word shibori is actually derived from the Japanese verb “shiboru” which means to squeeze or to wring, something any indigo dyer is all too familiar with!
Q: When did you first discover this art and what made you fall in love with it?
A: I came across shibori through West Dean college just outside Chichester. Its a residential college offering short courses from 1 day up to a whole week set in a lovely mansion house in extensive grounds. I’ve been there many times to do jewellery classes (my other passion!) I was looking through their brochure and spotted Shibori and indigo dyeing back in 2011 and fancied trying something new. As soon as I started dyeing things in the indigo I was hooked! There’s something so magical about taking a piece of fabric out of the vat and seeing it change colour in front of your eyes. (Indigo vats have reduced oxygen and this makes the fabric yellow/green. The indigo catches the oxygen in the air on contact and turns blue).
Q: Tell us a little about your business, Romor Designs. How did it come to be?
A: Having fallen in love with indigo and shibori a while back and being a big Pinterest fan, I came across a pin linked to an amazing blog by Bryan Whitehead, a silk farmer and Japanese textiles specialist based in a little mountain village just outside Tokyo. His blog mentioned that he ran classes and the lure of a trip to Japan and the chance to learn was too much for me and I went to study in October 2014. Bryan is a really inspirational guy and encouraged me to set up my business (many of his ex-students have!) A year after coming back from Japan I was made redundant from my job at Anthropologie and it just felt like the universe ws aligning for me to become a textiles designer and indigo dyer.
Q: We are always interested to hear about people’s working methods, describe your typical day at work?
A: I will often spend the morning at home doing admin, emails and marketing and then go down to my studio in Hackney to make. Its a very inspirational space under an old railway arch and crammed full of odd objects and with other makers to bounce ideas off. I’ll usually spend some time deisgning, stitching and binding and then dye my work with indigo or natural plant dyes.
Q: Do you enjoy any other crafts in your spare time?
A: I’ve been an amateur jeweller since 2000 and go to Morley college in Lambeth for an evening class once a week to carry on this interest. I particularly like forging leaves from copper and silver.
Q: What crafting gadget or tool could you not live without?
A: Tricky! Its rather dull but I’d actually have to say my iron! Its an industrial one where the water tank is connected directly to the iron by a cable and is used every day to prepare fabric and iron completed work.
Find out more about and book Rob’s upcoming classes here.