Travels with silk scarves
Using color and gesture to express her emotional response to music, literature and nature, Ruth Dent created her line of bold abstracts to collect as paintings, prints or silk scarves. Her rooftop studio in Rochester, UK, overlooks the castle and cathedral. “When broken grids appeared unexpectedly in a painting, they immediately captured my imagination, so I’m exploring them – in paint, print and thread,” she says. Her growing collection is titled ‘Visible, Invisible, Veiled’ and celebrates life, nature and the human spirit, particularly through motifs such as trees, forests, the sun and moon.
“I realize that owning original art can be tricky, given that we may have limited wall space and/or limited budgets for such treasures. So I have taken some of my artwork off the wall, to create gorgeous limited edition silk scarves for people to wear instead,” she says. Recent bodies of work include interpretations of Choral Evensong, John Ireland’s Te Deum in F, Britten’s War Requiem and Virginia Woolf’s first novel, ‘The Voyage Out’. The scarves start as paintings (it was a friend who saw her ‘Te Deum Seasons’ paintings and commented that they would look great as scarves). She then appropriates her own art and in the process, which includes high- resolution images and digital printing, where the original image is enlarged, creating a new piece of art. “Not every piece of my work will become a scarf, but those that do represent my artistic journey. At the moment there are the four Te Deum Seasons Scarves and the Voyage Out Centenary Scarf,” she says.
Dent recently added the personalized element to her packaging as well. “As independent brands are increasingly moving online, packaging is becoming an increasing part of guaranteeing a luxurious all-round shopping experience. With that in mind, I wanted to pass on the artistic packaging behind my brand, Ruth Dent. An artist at core, I see my scarves as a way to share my art and for someone to take them out into the world, to love, enjoy and create memories of travel together,” she says. This journey begins from the moment the designed, hand printed envelope that comes with the scarf is received. The delightful task of unwrapping is an experience in itself with the untying of the ribbon, releasing the signed, numbered label and collection of #Travelswithmyscarf postcards before the scarf itself is revealed. “Unable to find packaging I liked, I designed my own, and at the moment print it myself too. The whole emphasis is on either buying oneself a gift, or a gift for a special friend. The scarves come packaged, and include a story postcard, at least three more postcards, as well as a hand-written welcome letter from myself, creating a lovely experience for the recipient,” says Ruth.
Photographs of women modeling the scarves together with photos of the scarves in various locations have come together to create a character, Augusta, that Ruth has introduced recently. According to her, Augusta “contains elements of all of us, wears my scarves and will feature in our travels and stories going forward. Augusta is feminine, with a generous heart and an inquiring mind. At one with herself, she is confident, self-assured and independent. She faces the same daily challenges as we do; what to wear, how to wear it, how to get everything done, and still have time and space for herself.”
The scarves are available online through Ruth’s eponymous label and going forward she expects to release more collections every year, though not in keeping with spring/fall fashion seasons. “My scarves are treasures to wear and keep, brought alive by their collectors, who travel with them, continue the story (which comes with the scarf) and make their own memories,” she signs off.
Find out more at www.ruthdent.com