Getting to know Ruth Hollywood June 06 2017
A graduate of The Glasgow School of Art's Jewellery & Silversmithing department, Ruth Hollywood lets us in on the inspirations for her bold geometric designs and the ethos behind her products.
The GSA Shop stocks products designed by students, staff and alumni of The Glasgow School of Art…Can you tell us a bit about your time studying at GSA?
I studied Silversmithing and Jewellery, graduating in 2006. I really enjoyed studying at GSA and I learned a lot that I still use in my practice today including the design process and technical techniques.
Where do you find inspiration and ideas for your designs?
Inspiration changes from collection to collection but my main influences are science, architecture and modern artists such as Frank Stella. Colour theory and grid formations are continuing themes from which I develop shapes and structures, the process of making itself leading to further experimentation.
Can you tell us a bit about the kind of processes and materials you use?
I combine new technology such as 3D printing with traditional scoring and folding techniques, adding a pop of colour using hand mixed resin pigments. Each piece is then carefully filled and finished to give the silver a delicate brushed matte finish, providing a subtle contrast to the bold resin.
Dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of my practice, I use responsibly sourced and sustainable recycled silver. Additionally I adopt these strong ethical principles throughout my work with regards to materials, packaging and waste.
How long have you been trading for and what led you to start your business?
Graduating in 2006, I practiced as a lecturer spanning art, design and jewellery before launching my first collection as an independent designer in 2013. I wanted to have an outlet for my creativity and create a sustainable business.
What are the hurdles you face as a maker in starting and running your own business?
One of the biggest challenges as a sole trader is balancing everything that needs done from designing and making to photographing work and marketing.
And tell us about the high points that make it all worthwhile…reactions to your products, any surprise successes and opportunities?
Customer feedback makes it all worthwhile, I love it when people get in touch or send a photo just to let you know how much they love their piece of jewellery.
What advice would you give to makers starting to design products for retail?
If I was to give one piece of advise to makers starting to design products for retail, it would be to think of pieces that you wish already existed. It’s also a good idea to look at what’s currently available and see if there is a gap in the market that you could fill, this could help you develop a unique selling point.
How are you finding the independent retail scene currently?
I think the demand for independent retail is increasing, as people want to shop local and support independent makers.
How long have you been supplying us?
I am delighted to have been stocking the GSA shop since 2015. It has helped me reach a new audience has and lead to customers returning for more pieces.
Give us a sneaky taste of things to come, what are your big or small plans for the future?
I’m currently developing a new collection, combining my signature use of colour, grids and geometry to create pieces with strong 3 dimensional properties. Squares and hexagons become cubes and tumbling blocks, the colours creating optical illusions when viewed from different angles and through different qualities of light.
What’s your favourite new material to work with or colour combination just now?
At the moment I’m enjoying working with tints and tones and combinations of colours of resin to create a 3 dimensional effect.
Which other designers or makers products impress you?
There is such a high standard of designer makers stocked in the GSA Shop; just a couple of my favourites include Risotto Studios and Heather Shields textiles for their colour combinations and quality craftsmanship.