DERELICT DREAMS

A while ago now my partner and I set off on a derelict adventure.

Running your own business means there is often only the smallest of opportunity for creativity, as a lot of the time is hustle and admin. But one clear Sunday we packed our bags, flask, camera, hats, snacks! and set off to North Yorkshire.

I had already planned the places I wanted to visit courtesy of Google, and Richard methodically plotted each destination for maximum coverage and speed.

There were some false starts ( the website I had used was quite old so some of the ‘derelict’ buildings had new shiny built on top), there was lots of driving and much screeching to a halt if either of us spotted a gem that wasn’t on ‘the route’.

All in, it was a beautiful fun day, and I got some really fab shots I’m happy with, and will use in the future.

Here’s a peek!

SUPPLIER VISIT

Hello and Happy New Year! Hope you all had a peaceful Christmas and rested well.

It’s January and with that come all the pressures of a new year - new you! I have started the year writing a ‘done’ list rather than a ‘to do’, this allows me to feel satisfied with what I’ve achieved and accomplished throughout 2018 rather than filling me with dread about what needs to be done in 2019. That said, there is always the promise of new adventures, new treasures to be found and more wonderful connections to be made.

Speaking of connections, last week I visited my fabric supplier, a company in Cheshire where I get all my designs printed. I email these guys regularly and rarely get to see them so it was great to put faces to names and re-connect.

The afternoon started with a catch up and discussion about new developments, costings and problem solving. Mum came along too to meet everyone, we enjoyed a cup of tea and a brainstorm.

We then had a tour around the factory, I got to see the machines where my designs are printed, the cutting room, the sewing department (where each item is machine sewn by hand!) It was a really inspiring afternoon and was great to get involved and really see how and where my products are made.

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I had a chat with the daughter of the business about environmental issues and how the company are doing all they can at the time to reduce impact. There was water recycling from the dying process, cardboard and fabric core recycling, along with the fact that everything is done under one roof, reducing the need for transporting the goods by van, ship, plane. They even carry heavy rolls of fabric across the car park by hand each day!

Below you can view some photos of the day, if you have any questions about the process or anything else to do with how your wonderful goods are designed and produced then please do get in touch. hello@ruthholly.co.uk

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SUSTAINABLE GIFTING

I have done the majority of my Christmas shopping online this year. I am continually aware of shopping small and shopping independent, but equally I’m more and more interested in sustainable, responsible companies who put thought and care into their process, as well as their finished product.

As promised, here’s a peek (without giving too much away for xmas!) at my top 6 responsible businesses. I hope this helps you in time for your Christmas gifts, but if not, maybe it will encourage you in 2019 to really think about where your purchases are made, how they are made and most importantly why.

Thanks for reading. x

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COMMUNITY SPIRIT

This week I’m taking part in an Instagram based campaign called Just a Card. The JUST A CARD campaign aims to encourage people to buy from Designer/Makers and Independent Galleries and Shops by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, even 'just a card' are so vital to the prosperity and survival of small businesses.

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This is something I have always championed as a designer myself. For years I have visited design fairs and markets and been in awe at the talent, skill and bravery of the small independent businesses I saw develop in front of my eyes.

Now, being one of them, I feel it even deeper, and really feel privileged to be part of this movement. And I really do feel it is a movement. If you are aware of the amount of creatives using Instagram and social media for their creative outlet, and to sell their creations, you will feel it too.

I have struggled to find the words for this post, because how I feel is at times difficult for me to process, let alone articulate. For a long time I have been at a loss to find my tribe. At 35, without a family of my own yet, I have often got confused as to my position in society, my role, my purpose, my identity. Starting out on this journey, my aim was simple, to develop a lifestyle brand that was authentic to myself and the way I see the world, to create products for people who share my vision, who truly see the beauty in life most un-obvious places. To create a warm, loving home sanctuary for myself, to be financially stable, to survive.

I had no ambition to make friends along the way, if anything this was a way for me to be independent, to do something alone, without relying or depending on anyone else.

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I now know this isn’t possible, life’s true blessings are our connections, our relationships and the energy that flows between us. In 4 years, I have learnt SO MUCH, every day I have found a new way to express myself, everyday I have come up with a solution for a problem, developed a products, created designs. The takings from this business are far more than financial. I have made fantastic connections; for a day, for the length of a trade show!, for months, and now for years.

Both personally and professionally I have found a sense of belonging within the design business community. These folk are just true. Creative, passionate, hard working mavericks, each singing their own tune but equally so open and willing to sing mine too.

LALALALAAAAAAAA - THANK YOU!

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Ready to escape visually into a world of art and design for 5 mins?

Today I'm looking at the work of several artists using a limited colour palette with refreshingly raw, muted tones. Focusing on form and shape, these artists don’t need to use bright colours to attract their audience, the draw is created from texture, simplicity, shape and style.

Miyuki Shiro’s work reminded me of the recent Giuseppe Penone exhibition I visited at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park recently, though his main exhibition was sculpted trees and large scale wood cuttings, he had a few pencil line drawings that would bend the eye and made the viewer really focus on what he/she was looking at. Emil Berild’s ceramics are full of depth and desire, the charcoal burnt textures and tones make his smoke fired pieces dramatic and dangerous. My own work, ‘Wholesome’ - from the Signature collection, features deep and intense colour combos, broken only slightly by a flicker of light.

This is what I love about art; it isn’t obvious, it isn’t something you easily consume, it makes you think, it challenges and inspires, it grabs and grows you and is never EVER dull.

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ART_SCAPE

Here is no.1 of a monthly feature called Art_scape. An arty escape for 5 mins to soak creativity up into your eye balls.

I regularly use Pinterest as a source of inspiration and collection, those of you aware of it will know of it's absorbing power. Those not, here is it's strap line - "Pinterest helps you discover and do what you love. Find recipes, style inspiration, projects for your home and other ideas to try. " 

It also allows creatives access to unlimited visual feasting, hours of procrastination and heart wrenching urges to get paints out and just play. 

This month my focus will be to introduce more colour into my life. Over the last few years I have been drawn to muted tones and this has had a strong impact on my designs. They are subtle, understated and beautiful and don't ask for attention.

(Don't tell everyone), but of late I'm enjoying a quiet revival, I have been looking at gathering colour and how to use it, here's what I found;

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FEATURED IN

Delighted to be featured once again in the latest issue of Warehouse Home. Ruth Holly's large birchwood textures tray was used as part of their 'PEELING GOOD' trend feature.

Warehouse home is a bi-annual design magazine, providing essential interior design inspiration for loft apartments and warehouse conversions as well as decorating ideas for incorporating vintage, industrial and reclaimed furniture in a modern home.

Can you spot it here on Page 14? 

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PULSE London

Can't believe it's a whole 4 weeks nearly since we exhibited at PULSE London. It was our 2nd year on the bounce and was once again a great show. 

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We hired a van to get all the products and stand props down from Yorkshire to the big smoke, set off early Saturday morning and arrived in time for a quick lunch and a speedy set up. Now when I say speedy, it was our quickest time of 5 hours! it usually takes a little longer, but the more times you exhibit at a show, the quicker it gets, especially if you plan and prep before hand. 

I opted for a similar set up to last year as the designs are quite similar, it's the product that has developed. So I had a feature shelf for the NEW greetings cards with captions, and we featured the kitchen ware in it's own area, making a stand out show of the tea towels in particular!

Overall the footfall seemed down from 2017, but the number of visitors to our stand was great, and the orders we received were healthy. Many buyers tend to go away and come back, sometimes even a year later! Product wise, our kitchenware was very well received, along with art prints and cushions.

Olympia was filled with enormous talent, every year the designer makers get better and I'm so inspired by this wonderful community and so happy to be part of it :) My favourites included the following;

These guys had their brands on point! The completeness of the stand, their strong visual identity, and a classic, timeless product :)

Is Spring time finally arriving?

Wow. Doesn't it seem a long winter time. I have been a hermit this winter and am so happy to see a little sunshine today. The weather really affects my mood so it's great when the nights get lighter and we can see light at the end of the tunnel!

Keeping on this cheery positive note, I thought it a great time to share with you some wonderful customer feedback. As a small business, reputation and relationships are key to building foundations, customer satisfaction and therefore returning trade. We have the most heart warming feedback from most customers, here's a few to share with you now.

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"I took one of your business cards at a craft fair in Shoreditch in London a couple of years ago. I have moved house and can finally hang up my own pictures, I am so glad I still had your card and was able to thus find your website! Love your work!"- Jessica

"Just a note to say I bought your cards at the Manchester Craft Fair.
I love them and am really enjoying writing them, they are my favourite cards!"- Sally

"Your work is beautiful, I am a lover of all things natural too and can't help bringing bits of bark/sticks/ leaves home when I walk the dog, it's lovely to see you using them so creatively!" - Pippa

"The wall hanging has most certainly transformed a very bare space. I can tell you we've been looking for "the perfect thing" for some time now and tried various other prints and hangings. However, nothing seemed to look quite right. We find that your art work most definitely draws your eye as you get closer to it. We're still working on "interpretation" and just what we see in the print but that's very much part of the fun and enjoyment of having it." – David and Gabrielle

Fancy reading more? take a look what people bought here.

'March Meet the Maker'

This month I am taking part in Joanne Hawker's Instagram Challenge, called "March Meet the Maker". Out of the many social media platforms, Instagram is by far the most creative for me personally, I find using images and a small caption, sometimes long story! very productive and my followers love to see what I'm up to and where we're going as a business! Please join in and watch my story, over on Instagram

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