I am Rachel, the designer-maker at ROCWORX, a marble artist and leatherworker. I live in a rural community, working in a small studio-workshop in South Devon, nestled in the valley of a small rural village, between the moors and the beach.
With a background and love of textile art, sewing, printing and creative art, I marble on a variety of textiles; veg-tanned leather, sheepskin, goatskin, organic cork and linen. I work with wool, vintage denim and oilskin in my soft furnishings and bags. I also marble on paper, recycled glass and FSC wood.
ROCWORX began from a desire to create marbled items to wear and use in the home, to share this beautiful heritage craft as contemporary designs, adding a pop of abstract colour to home decor.
Each item is hand-crafted, using traditional tools, heritage-craft techniques and ethically-sourced materials.
I use materials that are often by-products of other industries, or made from recycled materials, repurposed, offering an eco-conscious and environmental solution to landfill waste. My materials are compostable at the end of their life and my metal hardware is fully recyclable. I have a zero waste philosophy, so I will incorporate the waste material from larger items into smaller designs, jewellery and artwork, with some textiles being used in my hand made paper. My marbled signage uses laser cut FSC wood affixed to reclaimed local timber, and used for weddings, parties and as name plates.
My leather goods are designed with consideration, to value the life given, turning a food by-product into exceptional, quality leather goods. I hand cut, hand stitch and hand assemble every piece. Each item has my brand, which assures authentic, British craftsmanship.
Marbling is a heritage craft, classed as endangered on the heritage craft list. I have trained in both traditional Turkish and Japanese techniques, using both in my artwork and products and now incorporate marbling in my leatherwork, making each item unique.
Marbling is affected by temperature and humidity, so when marbling I work quickly, enjoying the diversity of the patterns produced. I mix my own paints, inks and add grated charcoal, melted crayon, pencil shavings and gold leaf for textural interest in my artwork. I choose papers from traditional paper makers, most of which are hand made and use cotton, recycled from the textiles industry. My own hand made paper used in my artwork, includes my waste offcuts of paper, linen threads, marbled linen, cotton, cork and leather.
Each art event I participate in, supports a charity. In addition, a portion of my sales will support a number of local and National charities.
As a small business, incorporating sustainable practices in my business, has meant small changes are making a big difference. For instance, I do not print on paper, but save documents digitally. Invitations and brochures for exhibitions and events are now sent digitally. Although much of my work uses hand tools, the energy I use for machine stitching, heating and lighting is from a green energy provider. I'm planning to install energy efficient heating, lighting and insulation in my our workshop being built 2022-2023.
I use green packaging, manufactured in the UK. I am working with suppliers, to encourage them to offer green packaging when delivering my materials. My items are carefully wrapped in acid free tissue, then cardboard roll, box or bubble paper and finally in water-resistant waxed paper. I use hand made paper, linen ribbons and hand made gift cards for my gift wrapping service.
I also support tree planting, so a portion of my profits goes towards a tree being planted each year. Our family planted 6 trees in 2021.
New designs are being created for my collections for home decor, lighting, soft furnishings and home accessories
I am working on a number of commissions and collaborations, as well as the development of home craft kits and workshops to experience and learn about the heritage craft of leather work and marbling, both planned for next year.
Do get in touch if you would like to learn more about these heritage crafts or have a commission you would like to discuss.