Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Meet the Maker: Ruth of Blue Eggs and Tea

I love this illustration! I'm sure you will too. It's the sort of thing that I might pick to be a focal point in a room! I also love the name Blue Eggs and tea! Ready to meet this weeks maker?
Firstly, two very important questions.

Tea or coffee?
You’re right, that is an important question: Tea, milk with two sugars. Don’t try and pass off any of that sweetener on me, and ideally don’t squeeze the bag. Yorshire Tea or Ceylon will be fine ;-)

Biscuit or cake? 
Hmmm. I have got into cake since meeting my partner (his family bake a lot) but I would have a tendency towards biscuits, particularly bourbons. But actually, I’d like to play it in the middle with Tunnocks Tea Cakes – a bit of both...

So, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Ruth and I draw! Mainly birds, which you can find on my blog and for sale at Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BlueEggsandTea?ref=si_shop and Not On The High Street. They’re all podgy, and quite cute! My business is Blue Eggs and Tea, in homage to my enduring hero Dr Suess. At Blue Eggs we have a simple motto: Be nice, Be kind and I hope that this love for life and for people and nature runs through my work in the pictures and the words. You can see a little more about the Blue Eggs philosophy here on my blog About page: http://www.blueeggsandtea.sqsp.com/. By day I work in Higher Education, by night I create and I like it this way: I’m not just one person, I need creativity but I also need the structure of my career in education. I have a background in science but also a degree in poetry and creative writing...so I’m a mixed bag! Apart from all this my main prerogative in life is to be outdoors, enjoying the solitude and wildness of nature, giving some time to volunteer pursuits or paddling in my kayak. Leave me outdoors and I’ll be fine!

...and what about the item that you are sharing with us? 
Today I’m sharing one of my favourite illustrations called ‘This Is How We Know About Life’ and this is up on my wall in a long thin frame. It really epitomises the Blue Eggs and Tea outlook of caring and sharing. My philosophy is Ben Nice, Be Kind, and this print is very much a nod to that community of kindness that I think we all have in us. I hope you’ll like it! It’s really about extending the hand of friendship, opening our hearts and minds to each other and not taking life too seriously. A lot of social ills could be cured if people were kinder to their fellow beings. 

How long have you been an artist and how did you learn? 
I opened Blue Eggs and Tea this spring, when people kept saying to me that they liked my doodles and would love a print. So, I bit the bullet...one day I was doodling, the next I was selling. It has grown from there really. I’m self-taught, but have always loved art from school so doodling has always been a go-to activity. But from the outset I was immediately struck by digital painting and digital design and this is now the method I feel most comfortable with. I do love to paint and draw on paper and canvas but I love computer art. Almost every person that buys a Blue Eggs print tells me that they can’t tell that it’s not an original watercolour – that’s the best feedback for me when it comes to a testimony to quality. 

When did you start Blue Eggs and Tea and why? 
I started Blue Eggs and Tea as a ‘brand’ this year as a creative outlet and to share my particular vision and philosophy. My blog supports that, and also explores other things I’m interested in. I’m a big believer in life-long learning and I’m trying to build a blog that is good to read, but also useful and interesting for other creative types. Starting a small business is a fascinating and exhilarating journey and I love sharing that with other like-minded people or folk who are thinking of sipping their toe in themselves. 

What inspires and motivates you? 
Being outside in nature inspires me mainly. Spending time in all weather, walking, cycling, kayaking, running...being amongst it! I always come back from a day or a week out, or even an hour, with lots of ideas. Beyond that, people inspire me! Good people. I really believe in people and their ability to do good. Not all do, but enough do that I feel cheered by the endeavours of others. I’m also all about recognising and celebrating the ‘little things’ in life; the moments that make you smile and brighten your day even if it’s just unexpected sunny weather, text from a friend, a nice biscuit....just the things that are often overlooked. 

Do you have a crafting space? 
I’d love to say I have a studio, but I have a spare room. It contains all my paraphernalia for Blue Eggs and Tea as well as a sewing machine for extra crafting when I get the time – but I’m a sewing newbie so that keeps being shelved! I need more space, and I’m moving soon so that will be a priority, but I couldn’t say it was a studio. I would of course love a summer house in the garden but that’s for another time... Generally, I draw wherever I’m sat...just whenever the spirit moves me, as it were! My space is increasingly become a shrine to the works of others that I love – it’s particularly cluttered with brooches. I run a regular #broochoftheday feature on Twitter where I mix my own brooches by Blue Eggs with others that I keep buying from myriad other talented makers! I love brooches. They’re a revelation to any outfit! 

What did 2013 hold for you?
So much! This year I started my business, got married in November, relocating to Nottinghamshire two weeks later (from Lancashire) because I’ve got a new job that was too good to turn down... so lots of big things for me as the person behind Blue Eggs and Tea. T interesting thing will be to see how my art develops and responds to all the new things. I feel super motivated at the moment, despite the busy time, so who knows what new creations might come out of it. My focus this year has been raising the profile of Blue Eggs; getting it going, blogging etc. I have not been focused on craft fairs or wholesale, which doesn’t interest me in a broad sense at the moment. I love the internet and how it can be leveraged for business, so my plan is to grow that and get more birds to more people: they have something special to say to people and everyone should have a little print on their desk to remind them of happy times. 

So can we join you in your virtual world? 
Please do! My blog is here http://www.blueeggsandtea.sqsp.com/blog/ and I am also on Facebook as ‘Blue Eggs and Tea’ https://www.facebook.com/Blueeggsandtea . I’d love to see you on Twitter, which is my primary social media outlet @blueeggsandtea, and also on instagram for behind the scenes photos! (Blueeggsandtea). So, in short I’m all over the place! My work is for sale on Etsy and Not On The High Street: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BlueEggsandTea?ref=si_shop http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/blueeggsandtea 

And some quick fire questions.

Favourite colour?
Green, theoretically. But increasingly Blue Eggs Blue!

The best season? 
Tough one. I like all of them as they are about to start. At the moment I’m sure Autumn is my favourite! I love mushroom spotting and photographing – you can see my recent snaps on the blog!

Your favourite food?
Banoffee!

The best day of the week?
Saturday, until the point when it’s nearly Sunday, which means nearly Monday. Not a fan of Mondays....these days I use my own Blue Eggs Daily Happy Plan to help, but still.... https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/163101820/daily-happy-plan-instant-download-daily?ref=shop_home_feat 

What is the best word?
Any of the made-up words my other half invents and pretends are bird species. He does it to catch me out when I’ve come back from an hour to myself birdwatching. I’ll say ‘Oh, a stonechat was about all’ and he’ll say ‘oh, you didn’t see a whimplepliffer then?’ and it cracks me up everytime because he thinks up something new in an instant. It’s a whole book waiting to be illustrated!

Favourite place?
The Northwest highlands of Scotland and the Cairngorms. Failing that? Home.

Your biggest achievement?
I have a doctorate in Himalayan Geology – I’m proud of that. But starting Blue Eggs and Tea is something I’m very proud of. I bit the bullet one day, and learnt as I went along with no formal guidance, and now I really couldn’t imagine life without my birds. I would like to think though that my biggest achievement is still to come...

Thanks Ruth. Can't wait to see that potentional husband and wife collaboration. You saw it here first folks! 

Well that's a wrap you crafty B's (pun fully intended!) That was the last of our 2013 makers. Thank you so much to everyone for contributing and reading. Meet the Maker will be back in 2014 with some more lovely creatives. 

Mrs Crafty B

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