We asked Ruth to give us an insight into her creative process and she shared with us a glimpse into her early creative life too!
I can't remember when I first fell in love with Natural History but it must have been relatively early. An old school book of mine titled 'Interests', lists the following items; 1: Birds, 2: Animals, 3: Plants, 4: Fossils:I must have been about 7 or 8 and I am still delighted to see that the teacher (Mrs Falgate) had written "Good" on the cover - something that rarely happened with me and school! It is full of fabulous facts (e.g. Bull Finches like Fruit Trees) and drawings, all of which are brightly coloured and I still like to work with colour except that today it isn't with coloured felt-tip pens from W.H.Smith's.Sumptuosity (the craft business that I run with my husband John) specialises in small free-hand embroidered gift items, e.g. badges (various sizes), book marks, handbag mirrors and lavender bags, which we mostly sell direct to galleries and independent shops etc, although we do also sell through our website and from our studio in York.
My work for Sumptuosity is still very influenced by the natural world, as my favourite designs to embroider are flowers, birds and bugs. I am currently very lucky to be working on some new designs for the Natural History Museum in Oxford, these include Fossils, Chameleons and Dodos: Our work has to be carefully planned in order to work out the most efficient manner of making an item while balancing artistic integrity but without being commerically unviable. People often ask "how long an embroidery takes to produce"... this is a very difficult question to answer as of course it varies from design to design but what I generally tell people is that the real time is in the design process.
I have to be happy not only with the final concept, I need to feel confident that I can successfully reproduce the design with my free-hand embroidery. It is important for me that the design is completely free-hand and not in anyway computer generated or from a template as I feel that the differences that occur in each piece are what makes it a joy for both the maker and the user ( to paraphrase William Morris!).
Thank you Ruth , so much!
You can keep up-to-date with the latest Sumptuosity plans, design ideas and day-to-day life in a craft workshop via the Sumptuosity Facebook page and Ruth's blog and, if you can't get to York to visit Ruth and the Sumptuosity in person, then indulge yourself in some 'seriously small craft' through their online store. You could even indulge someone else ... if you think you'll be able to part with what you buy!
*Giveaway* Sumptuosity are offering an amzing Alice in Wonderland handbag mirror as a gift to one of you!!!
If you'd like to win this beautiful,beautiful item then simply:
- head over to the Sumptuosity online store and have a look around;
- then pop back here to us and leave a comment mentioning any of Sumptuosity's other products which has especially caught your eye.