This weeks instalment of Creative Maker I speak with the lovely talented Ruby Tynan. I met Ruby on one of my first fairs a few years ago. I have always been a fan of her gorgeous handcrafted work – plus her dreamy instagram feed! So I had to get Ruby on to speak more about her work and vision. So let’s begin…
Hello! So, can you tell us a bit about yourself…
Hello, my name is Ruby! Originally from North Wales, I am a self-taught silversmith working in the heart of Sheffield City Center, designing and making sterling silver and solid 9 carat gold jewellery.
What got you into what you do now?
I don’t really have a cool or exciting “how I got started” story. There was no “lightbulb moment” where I realized that making jewellery was something I was going to base my career on. I was studying for a MSc degree in something totally uncreative, and wanted an artistic outlet to serve as a therapeutic release while I wasn’t studying. I had always been a creative person, believing that nothing should be bought if it could be made, but I had never been convinced that I was suited to a creative career. Therefore, I settled on jewellery making because it marries creativity and science. I was fascinated with the process of creating something beautiful by following a series of precise, methodical steps. And not having studied silversmithing in any form, I think I saw soldering as a new challenge!
What do you love most about what you do?
I think what I love most about my job is the freedom it gives me. I love being able to decide what I do each day, what jewellery to make, whether its new designs or producing stock for an upcoming fair. And I especially love not having anyone else to answer to!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have always been captivated by a love of delicate and dainty jewellery. I admire minimalist design, with lots of clean lines simple shapes, and this is definitely something I try to convey in my collections. I’m also inspired by the customers themselves. Modern women demand versatility from their jewellery, they want pieces of luxury that can be worn every day, whether its running errands, or out for dinner with friends on a Friday night. My aim is to create simple, contemporary and classic collections that are timeless, elegant and most importantly, affordable.
I use traditional silversmithing techniques to make my jewellery, exclusively from precious metals, alongside natural gemstones which have been ethically sourced. Many of my designs start with the materials themselves, rather than a sketch. I like to experiment with forming wire and sheet, often testing and wearing pieces for weeks before settling on a design. As a result, my jewellery collections are versatile and wearable.
How do you balance working and spare time?
One of the best decisions I made for my business was to move into a separate studio space. When I started out, I loved the idea of working from home (in my pyjamas), but relished the opportunity to expand into a dedicated space. It wasn’t until I did that that I realized how much more efficient I could be with my time. I was able to define my “work time” and “spare time”.
How do you switch off and re-charge?
This is something I struggle with, because I will always answer that late night customer email. I find it very difficult to put my phone away and totally switch off. Nevertheless, I really enjoy going home to visit my parents and their dogs. I don’t take my laptop, or anything that enables me to fulfill orders. So if I get an email demanding an order to be sent out that very day, there is nothing I can do! And I quite enjoy that.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out?
If it makes you happy, pursue it! Life is too short to be stuck in a job you don’t enjoy.
What has been the best advice someone has given to you?
“Do what you love.”
I only received this advice when I was already making jewellery for a living, and I wish someone had given it to me sooner. So much emphasis is placed on professions that are judged as being “proper”, whilst creative/vocational professions are often discredited. It took me a long time to stop being worried about how people judged my choice of career, but being surrounded by like-minded people every day confirms it for me. I absolutely love working for myself, and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I’m a huge true crime addict. I fill my day with podcasts such as My Favorite Murder, Wine & Crime, and Generation Why. There’s no accounting for it, I just have a very macabre sense of humour.
What is your why?
Having the freedom to control my own pace of life.
Thanks Ruby for taking part in the Creative Maker series, your work is so lovely! You can find Ruby’s work on the links below.
Facebook: Ruby Tynan Jewellery