Small Businesses NI
Small NI Businesses in Lockdown: The Artist Edition with Ruth Osborne
Updated: Nov 1, 2020
About Ruth Osborne Art
Ruth Osborne is an artist from the small village of Kilinchy in Co. Down. She established her small business 'Ruth Osborne Art' in 2017 after she had her first baby and wanted to focus on her own artistic practice. The local community of artists, makers and small businesses were instrumental in giving Ruth the belief and confidence in her artistic abilities. Since then the business has grown organically with Ruth extending her offering into fine arts, prints and workshops.
Ruth describes herself as a mixed-media artist, her original work combines printing and painting on Irish Linen and is largely influenced by her love of nature, the changing seasons and Irish folklore. Ruth particularly loves working on Irish Linen because of the beautiful look and feel it gives to her work, it's sustainable qualities and it's history within Ireland.
She uses a technique called monoprinting to directly incorporate the marks of plants and foliage into her pieces. This really helps to evoke the strong connection between her art and nature and also makes her pieces truly original and unique.
In addition to her original prints on Irish Linen, Ruth also produces fine art Giclee prints on textured etching paper. The collection below was inspired by the changing seasons in the Celtic calendar: Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain.
Adapting to lockdown
The birth of Ruth's second child happened just four weeks before lockdown meaning she had expected a relatively quiet few months. However, like many independent artists and makers Ruth did not anticipate the complete closure of markets, workshops and shops which are central places for selling her art and generating income for the business.
In response to these restrictions, Ruth turned her focus and efforts into creating her website in a bid to enhance her online offering. Lockdown had it's ups and downs for Ruth, having occasional bursts of inspiration and creativity while at other times the struggles of balancing work with a 3 year old and newborn also impacted the time to be creative.
Despite this Ruth was successful in completing her website and she also managed to create a Rainbow Meadow card to raise funds for local charities including The Trussell Trust and Women's Aid that needed more support than ever during lockdown. These were well received and Ruth sold all 100 pre-ordered Rainbow Meadow cards in a single day.
During this time Ruth launched her Shoreline Collection, this was the product of lockdown walks around the beautiful shorelines of Strangford Lough combined with Ruth's own love and enjoyment of beachcombing.
Going forward, Ruth will continue to invest in her online presence. Since workshops are an important part of her business and also one of the areas of her work that she derives most satisfaction from, it is vital that she can adapt to the new normal and take these as online sessions if necessary.
Ruth is looking forward to getting back to artisan markets and exhibitions as these offer an excellent arena for showcasing her work and building connections with other makers and businesses.
Having recently branched out into cards, stationary and homeware, Ruth will continue to diversify and grow her business.
Visit Ruth's website below to see more of her work and she is also available on Etsy, facebook and instagram @ruthosborne_art.