John Robshaw: Traveler, Seeker, Happy Foreigner

We have been experiencing John Robshaw through his textiles for many years, but to learn about what drove him to transition from fine art painting to the invention of a totally new textile company, makes them even more meaningful and wonderful. In his book, “John Robshaw Prints,” Elizabeth Garnsey introduces you to John in the perfect way when she writes that, “John has a knack for seizing a detail and making a whole scene of it. He has a way of bringing others to where he has been, whether through a postcard or through a pillow, but chances are, other people who go to places he’s been would never be able to capture a scene quite the way he can.”

John Robshaw grew up in Buffalo, New York. A liberal private high school education and an early tour of Europe, fostered his interests in art and ignited his wanderlust. In college he spent studio hours exploring printmaking, bronze casting, life drawing, etching, and painting, but it was his discovery of the reversal of printmaking that he found the most liberating. Working backward, upside down and with negative vs. positive images resulted in eclectic and unexpected spaces and shapes that deeply resonated with him. Naturally curious, his aesthetic, then, as now, evolved organically.

More study and travel to Rome and China during college led him to focus in on etching, printmaking and carving printing blocks by hand. After college he had a variety of art-related jobs while earning his MFA in painting at Pratt. One part-time job included going to India on an errand for a fashion-house supplier. From there he spent time wandering around Bombay discovering that the industry of printed fabrics in this part of the world is an integral part of people’s lives, and that the art and craft of it has been passed down through generations.

Fast forward to today and it is evident that John’s passions have fueled the development of his business. Starting with an obsession for art and travel, immersing himself in block printing, indigo dying and batiking, sourcing antique and archival fabrics and clothing for inspiration, John Robshaw Textiles has been able to bring the textile traditions of India and Southeast Asia home to us. Mixing and matching Robshaw’s colors and patterns for yourself is a way for you to tell a story too. Find inspiration and meet this extraordinary traveler in person on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at our Denver store from 5-8 pm. We are honored to have him.

Meet John Robshaw