Ruth Osborne, the 37-year-old mixed-media textile artist lives by the shores of Strangford Lough in rural County Down with her husband and two young sons (and two cats).
She draws inspiration from the beautiful location of her home. Ruth is passionate about the outdoors and the environment and enjoys spending time exploring Strangford Lough, including the occasional wild swim.
What do you do? Tell us about your craft
I am a mixed-media textile artist and I work primarily on locally sourced Irish Linen to produce original works of art, prints and homewares. My pieces are inspired by and connect with nature, the history and folklore associated with the landscape and changing seasons. Each piece is created using a range of printmaking techniques, in particular mono-printing, and hand-embellished painterly elements. I consider my work to be unique, delicate and instilled with a sense of peace and place.
What did you do before?
I studied Art History to Postgraduate Level and as part of my studies experimented with a range of artistic processes, in particular printmaking. After leaving University I worked in the arts and heritage sector for 12 years in education and community engagement roles in museums and art galleries. Throughout this time I continued developing my creative practice in printmaking and I eventually began to exhibit and sell my work in 2018. This has since grown into a flourishing art business.
How did you get the idea for this product? Or how did it come about?
The idea of working on Irish Linen came from my time working in museums in the North and South of Ireland where I worked on a range of projects exploring the history of Irish Linen on the island of Ireland and in particular the heritage of history of its production across Northern Ireland. I was fascinated by the process of turning flax to fabric.
I began to experiment with printmaking on linen, using both screen-printing and mono-printing processes. I was particularly taken with the subtle abstraction the Linen's texture lends the print. Over the years I have combined my interest in nature, wild spaces and folklore in my work to create a range of original works of art as well as homewares, cards and prints.
My work celebrates the details, textures and colours in nature and brings together the real with the imagined and I am always seeking new ways to develop my work.
What is the most challenging part of your craft?
I would say the most challenging part is the time required to work on each piece and balancing that with the admin that comes with running a business and while having a busy family life.
When you have a young family finding quality, creative time can be a challenge. I am quite strict with setting aside both time to make, experiment and keep up to date with admin. It is definitely always an ongoing balancing act.
What do you love about this craft?
How connected it is to nature and the delicacy of the print.
How would you describe your style to someone who didn't know you?
Delicate, detailed, inspired by nature and connected to place.
What is a product you want to spotlight?
My Meadow inspired original artworks.
What makes this particular product so special?
They are a celebration of the wildness of spring and summer meadows- full of details and delicacy. The colours I use are heightened and the printing process of layering monoprints creates a beautifully tangled composition of meadow plants that are celebrations of these special habitats.
Who is your target market?
Homeowners, those buying a new home, tourists, gifts- ie. anniversary, wedding, those interested in Irish heritage, Art Collectors.
How can people order/buy your product?
They can get in touch with me via www.ruthosborneart.com and view the ready-made pieces I have available and find out more about the process of commissioning an artwork from me.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in business so far?
Take time to develop and experiment as this allows new ideas to evolve and grow and will build your passion and confidence in your work.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting out?
Invest time in your market research. Understand who your target audience is and how you can ensure your products can reach them. But also, be flexible and open to new avenues, collaborations and connections.
Anything else you would like to tell us about you or your craft?
I offer a bespoke commissions service and take great pride in creating original and unique artworks for both residential and corporate clients.
Most recently I have started creating commissions for newly-weds inspired by the Bride's bouquet. This is a lovely process and a unique way of marking a special wedding day.
How long have you been featured in The Designerie?
I am new to the Designerie
What do you love about The Designerie?
It has such a wide selection of high-quality art and craft and really puts makers and their businesses/craft at the fore.
How would you describe The Designerie to someone who didn't know about it?
A vibrant business celebrating the best in Northern Irish craft, art and design.