Written by Maria Lintott
I’ve always had an idea of the direction I wanted to go in! I knew where I wanted to study and believed that would give me a really good grounding and experience for my future. I knew I wanted to work for myself and build a business I could be proud of. Having said that, I have never been one to be too focussed on a tight plan because I don’t want to miss new wonderful opportunities along the way!
How it all started
I love everything design related. I did my degree in Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins and went onto to complete my Masters at The Royal College of Art. After graduating I went onto set up my design studio making bone china collections and was featured in places like Heals Discovers, Designers Guild, Mint, Victoria and Albert museum shop and various galleries in London and the rest of UK. I’ve always enjoyed freelance designing and have worked with Wedgwood and Urban Apothecary to name a couple.
The super power that made me even more determined
At 23, while I was studying for my Masters at the Royal College of Art, I was diagnosed with dyslexia & dyspraxia. I didn’t let it get to me, in many ways it made everything make sense – it is a super power and makes your brain work differently to others. Keep working hard and you will get to the exact place you want to be!
What inspires me and the process I take
I take inspiration from the natural world around us. I enjoy working with precision and capturing movement as well as a feeling of energy within my work. Shadows also form an important element to my sculptural paper work. I create paper cuts and hand–stitch them together to create sculptural butterflies and birds. I’m also working on some new dragonfly pieces at the moment and have lots more ideas I want to develop further.
Inspired by lockdown 1.0 and the changes it brought
During lockdown 1.0 I started creating sculptural art pieces. Initially I wanted to create something that would mark everyday spent in the chaotic mix of work and home-schooling. So, we could look back at it and commemorate that time and realise we can do anything going forwards! The finished piece was a 171 sculptural butterflies. I had such a lovely response and have been making more since and selling them at Brothership at Beckwith’s, in Hertford. I’ve also had a couple of group exhibitions there. If I had been so focussed on “the plan” I might have missed out on this opportunity!
Design is routed in everything I do
I’m not one for sitting still, when I had my boys, juggling getting in the studio with fragile ceramics around, was tricky. So I adapted to the situation and in 2015 my husband and I decided to make the leap, join forces in our professional life too and combine our design skills. Setting up our leather brand Rufus Country (Fabian also studied at Central Saint Martins, with a degree in product design). My oldest was just three months old, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Our driving force to set up Rufus Country, was our passion for high quality leather design. Combined with our frustration with the large commercial high street mark ups. We wanted to use the most beautiful quality leathers (predominantly Italian, which we source from Santa Croce, near Florence) for our unique bag and small leather goods designs. By selling via our website and bringing them direct to our customers at shows, we can deliver the best quality in leather, design & service for their money.
Do a job you love; it’ll rub off on the younger generation
I love being creative and seeing something through from concept stage, through to seeing the finished product. Sometimes it’s months in the planning and that feeling of satisfaction when it’s complete is great. But nothing beats the reaction of someone picking up one of our leather products or one of my art pieces and saying they love it, and appreciate all the details & design features we have included.
Setting up my own businesses has been an incredibly fulfilling life decision. I love the feeling that we are building something together that we can be proud of. Also, I hope that we are showing our boys that you can have a job doing what you love, it’s not always easy, but hopefully they see us just keep going and being resilient!
Find more from Maria Lintott:
Rufus Country website: https://www.rufuscountry.uk/
Maria Lintott Art: https://www.rufuscountry.uk/art
Lockdown art piece Youtube video: Rufus Country bespoke butterfly piece
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