Rachael Cocker

Also known as Herbert Green, this Edinburgh-based illustration student applies a vibrant use of colour, pattern and shape across her portfolio of hand-crafted work.

Large patterns 4

Rachael Cocker, 2014

How would you describe your practice? 

I’m currently studying illustration but I wouldn’t class everything I make as illustration necessarily. I make drawings, collages, ceramics, patterns, printed fabrics and knitted and crocheted creations so I think I need a more all-encompassing title like illustrator-designer-maker. Last year I invented the alias Herbert Green, which is fun because it’s like having a secret identity that I can hide behind. Mostly, I try to make work which is uplifting, warm and has a homely feel. I think that my practice is still in the process of becoming, so maybe get back to me in a year and I’ll have a more definitive answer. 

Your work often features natural motifs, can you outline why you're drawn to this type of imagery?

I take a lot of inspiration from the every-day and noticing the wonderful in the ordinary. Fruit, vegetables and plants are such humble and ubiquitous beings but are also so beautiful and perfectly formed. You can always find amazing colours, shapes and patterns hidden in natural forms. I try to bring these elements to life in my work with lots of colour and a sense of playfulness.

You experiment with a wide variety of media, from pottery to screenprinting via knitting, is there an underlying raison d'être to all of your work regardless of media? 

I have always found such satisfaction and joy from making things by hand. I get so excited by learning new processes and the qualities and potentials of different materials. I’m impatient and I constantly want to move on to the next thing; sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of craft projects. But the process which underpins everything I make is drawing. It’s what connects all my work together and I’m interested in how I can translate my drawing into different media. 

What have you been working on recently and what’s next?

All off my recent work is going towards a project which is based around the kitchen and the idea of home making. I’ve got lots of ideas which I’m working on so I’ll just mention a few for now. I’m currently designing and making a collection of tea-towels with different bread recipes printed on them. The idea is that you can cover the bowl with the tea-towel while the dough is rising. I’m also making some more clay creations. I’ve been learning how to throw on the wheel recently which was great- although my pots are still quite eccentric! Hopefully I will develop this more next year. It will be there for all to see at the Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show in May. I want to have set up a proper website and an online shop by then too.

If you could collaborate with anyone on a project, who would it be?

I’d love to work with someone who knows lots about sewing and making patterns so we could make some exciting fabrics together and turn them into wonderful creations. So if this sounds like you, please get in touch. Oh, and Matisse, obviously.