What’s your background?
Unofficially, it’s a huge hotchpotch of creative things! I’ve worked for a number of independent businesses, but made a decision back in 2015 to set up my own studio. I think textiles have always been there in the background. I love the organic nature of working as a textile artist.
Tell us what you make
Working with unbleached cotton rope is the mainstay of Ruby Cubes. I use it to create 3D objects, such as baskets, bowls, bags and sometimes wall art. I like to make things that are purposeful as well as aesthetically pleasing. The rope I use is wonderfully tactile. This year I’m experimenting with natural dye, testing it on the rope,
and also natural fabrics.
What inspires you?
I’m hugely inspired by the textures I find in nature – but I tend to apply these in an abstract way. I live in a beautiful part of the world – just inside Dartmoor National Park – so I have landscape to take inspiration from. I’m only a few minutes away from the windswept moors, ancient woodlands and the most breathtaking beaches. I’m also inspired by a lot of ancient art – chiefly basketry. Early examples from Rome, Africa and Australia are beautiful in their own way and an excellent reference. I try to put a modern take on this classic craft.
Do you take inspiration from other makers?
Something I’m quite passionate about is exploring my own path as a textile artist and not allowing myself to be swayed by what other people are creating, or be too bothered by trends. For me, personally, my journey as a textile artist is about it being a whole lifestyle.
What is your making process?
It always starts with a huge pile of rope on the studio floor, which then has to be measured and organised into the correct lengths for creating whichever product I’m working on that day. Then I wind up plenty of bobbins in the colours I need and get stitching. Most days I sew for about four hours. The most exciting time for me is when there’s a big heap of rope on the floor that I’ve set aside specifically for experimenting and I create just for the sheer pleasure of it. I sketch out the bigger pieces I have in mind, but mostly I tend to visualise a picture that I then try to stitch into being.
Can you describe your studio for us?
It’s actually our conservatory at home. My sewing table faces a wall with shelves above that are overflowing with cones of colourful threads. I have to face the wall when I’m sewing so that I don’t get distracted!
Any future plans?
I’m in it for the long haul. Now I’ve found my passion I intend to stick at it for as long as possible. Right now I’m focusing on creating good work and building the business on a solid foundation. My main ambition is to keep to my artisan roots.
See more of Jessica’s striking designs at rubycubes.co.uk