John Robshaw: A textile designer that draws inspiration from local artisans all over the world.

John Robshaw is one of the most fascinating textile designers that uses excessively the "block printing" technique to make patterned fabrics. John Robshaw earned a fine arts degree at Pratt. However the true exploration on the world of textiles began when the designer started to travel, first in Asia and then in other parts of the world, in order to meet local artisans and learn their fabric-making traditions. 
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Printed on pure cotton percale / Image source

He studied traditional block printing in China, travelled to India to find natural indigo dye, worked alongside artisan from Gujarat and Rajasthan and studied their personal printing methods, made court batiks in Indonesia, vegetable-dyed ikats in Thailand and much more.

When John Robshaw needs to hire someone to help, He picks the old printers. According to the designer, their hands are shaky and their eyesight is poor, so the pattern comes out slightly off and you can feel the human touch. 

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Hand block printed/ hand stitched edging / Image source

Now John works with various workshops in India, where he travels several months out of the year to oversee production, experiment with new dyeing and printing techniques, and to work alongside the artisans creating the fabrics. He takes care to cultivate and preserve their traditional techniques, but not only in India. As a consultant for Aid to Artisans, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating economic opportunities for craftspeople in developing nations, John has traveled to Vietnam, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, and most recently, Bolivia, in support of the textile artisans there.
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Block print in a soft dove gray / Image source


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