I planned to do one of these Meet The Maker blogs every month and then life got in the way but here is the third of my Meet The Maker blog features all about the lovely Jessica, aka Ruby Cubes, who makes beautiful rope pots and tableware in her home studio in Devon.
What made you decide to become a maker and how did you get started?
I realised some years ago that I wanted to become a maker and I gave myself a year when I turned 30 to try everything and find something I wanted to make everyday. Luckily I hit upon this rope technique and began experimenting and I’ve been making things out of rope ever since.
What inspires your designs and colour combinations and how has your work changed over time?
When I started out I just tried everything. I chaotically worked my way through size, shape and colour – I experimented with everything. Now I’ve reached a point where I know what shapes I can make (and repeat!) and I am experimenting greatly with colour and pattern at the moment. I’m always moving forwards & pushing myself as an artist and a maker. I’m greatly enjoying translating nature into my work at the moment.
What is your favourite thing to make?
Ooh that’s a toughie! Truthfully it’s whatever I’m working on right now. I’m constantly pushing my own boundaries and that’s what makes it exciting and fresh for me everyday.
What do you love most about being a maker?
The freedom! I follow the beat of my own drum and there is nothing more fulfilling than being able to listen to my own creative mind. It’s a lot of hard work but I enjoy it because I genuinely love what I do and I intend to be a maker for as much of my career as possible.
How important is the space you work in and what do you love about your workshop space?
This is so funny to me because my studio is actually my conservatory at home. I took over the whole space once my daughter started school and now it’s known as the studio. It’s sub zero in the Winter and horrifically hot in the summer but I absolutely love working from home. I can see the Dartmoor hills from my window and I can walk the school run, meaning I don’t need to spend hours in a car commuting everyday. Also my cat comes in for cuddles during the day, which is the best. Someday I imagine I’ll move the studio out the house but for now I’m very content with where I’m at.
Why is sustainability so important to you as a maker and what makes your materials so natural?
Sustainability should be important to every maker, every business, every individual. I know it’s a hot topic right now with all of the plastic pollution and it’s brilliant that people are truly putting their efforts into that but I think we also need to individually look at what we consume, why we consume and how we consume goods and services and make more conscious choices about our everyday living that can benefit our beautiful planet, because when it’s gone – it’s really gone and so are we!
My products are made with natural materials – mostly unbleached cotton rope or (brand newcoming soon!) a pineapple textile called Pinatex which I’m excited to be working with – it’s 100% sustainable as it’s made from pineapple farming waste with no toxic chemicals. This year I’m also trying my hardest to find a fairtrade source for the rope I work with, because I’m constantly looking to move my business forwards in terms of both sustainability and ethics. It’s been amazingly difficult to get suppliers to give me a straight answer about traceability of materials and I’m such a tiny tiny fish in such a massive sea that getting heard has been challenging and frustrating. Also sourcing cotton in the UK is tricky because for any kind of scale it has to be imported as it’s not a good native crop here. Sometimes you have to make the best decision you can as a business, which up until now has been to work with unbleached materials, as by comparison with bleached materials it hugely limits chemical harm to the environment and the farmers. Now I’m striving forwards to ensure the future of Ruby Cubes continues to do good things for both planet and people watch this space!
What would you be in another life if you weren’t doing what you do?
Golly another toughie! I’d love to be a gardener. Growing fruit and veggies and tending to the outdoors everyday. That would be a great life.
Browse the Ruby Cubes collection of rope bowls and pots in moss & mint and bright gorse yellow on my website.