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A Chat with Designer Helen Ruth

A Chat with Designer Helen Ruth
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In a world of social media, there are so many beautiful and inspirational designers to scroll through. But when we came across Helen Ruth and her designs, we knew we’d found something special.

The designs were feminine, yet edgy and each contained intricate detail that made you feel like you were watching a fairy tale unfold. Vinda knew right away that Helen needed to be apart of the Beyond Scarf family. It was a true match.

“My favourite part is the fabric and the style of design (of course.) Her choice of materials feels amazing on the skin,” said Vinda. “It reminds me of a childhood story and I feel instant nostalgia each time I put on one of her pieces. That’s magic.”

We sat down with Helen Ruth to get a better look into her life as a designer.

What is your name?

Helen (Ruth) Greensmith and my label is Helen Ruth Scarves.

Where are you from and where do you currently live?

I'm from the North East of Scotland, I grew up in rural Aberdeenshire and now live in the city of Aberdeen.

What is one thing interesting / unique / quirky about you?

I recently adopted two little black feral kittens - a brother and sister called Charlie and Frida. They are slowly becoming more used to being around humans. It is definitely making life interesting around here! I wanted to get a kitten for ages and then these two showed up in the garden needing a home so I felt like it was meant to be.

Who is your favorite artist?

Tough question. I've always been more interested in design than fine art, so in terms of textile and print designers it has to be the queen of print, Zandra Rhodes. I love how her prints work with the garments they are designed for and her strong use of color. It’s always instantly recognizable. I was lucky enough to get to spend a few weeks at her design studio, in London, when I was a student and it was amazing. 

Tell us a bit about your life before becoming a designer

I honestly can’t remember. I've always loved making things. My friends and I used to make jewelry out of beads and wire and sell it at craft fairs. I've always loved drawing and being creative in my spare time. It wasn't until I went to art school and discovered printed textiles and being able to put my illustration onto fabric that I realized I wanted to do this with my life.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Mainly from the landscape around where I grew up. The wild countryside and the creatures that inhabit it, as well as the dark folklore and fairytales that surround it constantly inspire me. My granddad used to make up stories and treasure hunts using local landmarks, so I think I grew up seeing the landscape with a bit of magic to it!

What materials do you use and why?

My scarves are all printed on fine silks and wools, I love the luxurious feel of them and they drape so beautifully.

Tell us a bit about your design process

I start all my designs with hand drawn illustration using pen and paper. Sometimes I'll have a really clear idea of how I want the scarf to look or sometimes I just have an idea of a theme and begin drawing motifs around that theme. Then I convert these to digital images and create the layout of the design using Photoshop. This way I can repeat, change the scale, or mirror image the motifs to create interesting patterns and layouts. I love seeing my illustrations create new patterns and shapes on the screen and usually it is a complete surprise how the finished design turns out!

Tell us a bit about your manufacturing process and why you chose to produce that way.

My scarves are digitally printed in Glasgow in Scotland, I've worked with the Centre for Advanced Textiles since I began my business and I have a good relationship with them. I also like that I can keep my production as local as possible, and being a Scottish designer I think it is nice that I can say that my scarves are also made in Scotland. Using digital print means I can use unlimited colour in my designs, which is great for me as strong vibrant colour is one of the signature recognizable things about my scarves.

What is your favourite detail of your pieces?

Most of my scarves have a tiny skull hidden in them! You have to really look to find them and I enjoy seeing different customer's reactions to them when they find them. I like the element of surprise! On the surface the designs appear pretty with birds, plants and flowers etc, then when you look closer into the details you find this tinge of darkness lurking, there is always a little more than meets the eye.

Thank you so much to Helen Ruth for sitting down with us. We're truly grateful to have you be apart of the Beyond Scarf family. All photos are curtesy of her. 

Shop Helen Ruth here or visit her website here.

- The Beyond Scarf Team


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