19 Jul 2009

Artisan of the Week, Ruth of Sumptuosity

Happy Sunday everyone. Today we will be introducing you to the small company Sumptuosity. Ruth, the lead designer from the company, has agreed to tell us a little about herself and and her roll in Sumptuosity. This company consists of 4 people who all work together towards the making and selling of some of the most gorgeous pieces I've seen in a long time. I really am smitten with their designs and workmanship.

1. Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?
Hello My name is Ruth and I am one of the founding members of Sumptuosity, I am also the chief embroiderer. At Sumptuosity we design and make small gift items using free hand machine embroidery, silk and lots of vintage fabrics. Our range currently runs from single button brooches to handbag mirrors, bookmarks, notebooks and lavender bags.

2. What led you to take up your craft?
I started to sew again in the Summer of 2000 (the first time since I had been at School due to a horrible sewing teacher!) and as a release from the pressures of writing up my Ph.D thesis. The idea of turning the craft into a business was entirely the influence of my 'go-getting' husband. The second major influence was going to a talk and demonstration of the artist Naseem Darby. Life was never the same again after that.

3. Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
The best and most enjoyable part of my work is the embroidery. I absolutely love to do my freehand embroidery and really enjoy that first switch on of the sewing machine in the morning.

4. Which part do you find hardest?
The hardest part for me is definitely delegation, as I hate to tell other people what to do and I am always reluctant to give up any of my designs for others to sew.

5. Where do you hope to be in 1 year’s time?
In a year's time I hope that the business will be preparing for the New York International Gift Fair - fingers crossed.

6. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best piece of advice that I ever heard was in the talk that Naseem Darby gave - she said that in regards to free-hand machine embroidery, people should just have a go, enjoy it and not 'worry' about getting it wrong; as there was no such thing as getting it wrong, broken thread, broken needles were all part of the experience. Just go for it.

7. Could you name artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
I would definitely recommend that people look at Naseem Darby's website. Also have a look at Naive Textile Art, a wonderful mother and daughter team that I have met at trade shows and have been very impressed with their work.

8. What is your favourite sandwich filling?
My favourite sandwich filling is Falafal, hummous, sweet chili sauce and lettuce all stuffed into a wholemeal pitta bread. Yum!

Thank you Ruth for sharing a little bit of information about your business and life. I was drawn to your work firstly by the freeform frogs. I have a thing about frogs. I think they are gorgeous, so you drew me in and the more I looked through your website the more I liked. Check out what I mean readers. The site is full of utterly fantastic items.

Written by Lynne of Pirate Pixie Crew and Hyperloop Hoops


  1. Wow, very stunning pieces of work there - I'm useless with a sewing machine - unless it just needs a straight line stitching! This is very inspirational - thanks for sharing x

  2. I saw this work in a design magazine. it's so delicate I don't know how she does it. I particularly love her Alice in Wonderland pieces, they are so intricate


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