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Safe in the shallows...

Jess Rippengale grew up in Cornwall and graduated from the University of Plymouth with a first-class BA (hons) in Fine Art. Her work has been shown in London through the Unravelling collective and Scotland with the Spilt Milk collective. She spent a decade in London working for the University of the Arts London, developed and facilitated Tunisian crochet workshops and organised occasional pop-up shops to showcase and sell work. She now lives and works on a Dutch barge in Cornwall.


Jess’s work explores the British coast through the medium of contemporary craft. There are two strands to her work; weaving and crochet. Crochet hooks are whittled from driftwood and used to create colourscapes of the beaches they came from, working with the idea that the driftwood reveals its ‘memory’ of the beach. Unique to her practise is the fact that each hook is used only once, then serving as a hanging bar for the work. The weavings incorporate the tendrils of 'mermaid's purses' - the eggcases of small-spotted catsharks.  The idea that nature forms a large part of the work, and Jess is a conduit through which it speaks, is one that is reflected in the use of these natural fibres.  There is a sense of collaboration that occurs with the tendrils, as they coil and only half give way to the persuasion of water and tension. How its golden colour and translucent nature is reminiscent of sunlight on the sea, its irregular shapes appearing like waves and ripples. Uncertainty and the relinquishing of control is a process of negotiation through which the sea is finding its own voice within the structure of the work.




For commissions, collaborations or press, please email

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