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Finding Joy with Ruby Jones

Finding Joy

Finding joy in everyday things was the inspiration behind our most recent collaboration with author and illustrator Ruby Alice Rose.   
Ruby likes to make art that shines a little light on everyday moments and explores the connection between ourselves, each other and the world around us. She is best known for her drawing of two women embracing in a hug with the words ‘this is your home and you should have been safe here’. Since then she has illustrated a cover for Time magazine and released her first book and international best-seller All Of This Is For You with Penguin Random House. And has another one coming! Watch this space.
Ruby is an advocate for kindness, compassion and encourages people to look after themselves and each other through her art. Our values *and stars* aligned and the Finding Joy collection was created. In this interview she shares her creative process, her hopes and dreams for the future and the inspo behind her t-shirt illustration! We just adore her!

 Photography by Ashley Church.

Hey Ruby, tell us a little bit about you...

Ruby: I’m an illustrator living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington but I grew up in Ōtepoti/Dunedin. Creativity has always been a huge part of my life and I feel so privileged to be able to use it as an outlet to navigate my way through life. For me it’s all about the magic of getting an idea from my head into my hands.

What inspires you and what does your creative process look like?

Ruby: I’m inspired by the connection and relationships we share with each other, ourselves and the world around us. We carry so much around with us in our heads and hearts every day, and I like to make art that takes a peak inside at those thoughts, feelings, experiences, emotions etc. The words always come first for me and I then try to imagine what they feel like as an image. Sometimes I’ll be sitting on words for weeks or even months until I feel I have the right illustration figured out.


What was the inspiration behind your t-shirt design?

Ruby: This design came from a series of illustrations I did which focused on tiny things that were enough to make a day a good day. Maybe a nice sandwich is enough to make today a good day,  maybe a well-sharpened pencil is enough to make today a good day etc. It’s essentially about finding joy in the tiny things, the things that are with us all the time that we might take for granted because they’re so ordinary. 

The original idea came during a lockdown last year when I had a lovely sandwich delivered. I was sitting there thinking about how gloomy things seemed, but at the same time how great this sandwich was, and that maybe that was the peak of my day, and accepting that there might be better things tomorrow but for today it’s this sandwich. I extended the illustration series into this design by adding some other nice things like an open window, a soft pillow, a cat, sunshine etc. 

What are you most excited about at the moment?

Ruby: I’m really passionate about the hope that the world can be a better place - doing what I can, in my own small circle to make each day better - for me, for friends, strangers. My focus within that space at the moment is largely around sustainability and being really conscious of what I’m buying and where it comes from. I’m really obsessed with refurbishment videos at the moment so I’ve been on the hunt for old furniture I can do up and make my own. 

What are your hopes for the future?

Ruby: I hope I can continue to make work that’s meaningful, and start to share in new ways and in new environments.  In terms of the bigger picture, I hope the big corporates can start to properly acknowledge climate change and their impact on the state of it. I think we as individuals have started to grasp the enormity of climate change in our day to day lives but we need change from the top to truly transform what lies ahead.

What are three rituals you have that help the environment?

Ruby: I buy locally made as much as possible. I don’t have a car and I’ve recently converted to using period underwear (highly recommend)!


Tell us one thing, that others may not know about you!

Ruby: I’m really obsessed with perfume and different scents. I love the way they become so deeply tied to a time, a place, a person, a memory. I often think far more about the perfume I’m going to wear than an outfit for the day. If I weren’t working in illustration that would be a dream space to work in for sure.

I think Wellington fashion needs more...

Ruby: Weighted skirts and dresses for those particularly windy days!  

Where can we find you?

Usually drawing in the quiet corner of a cafe, otherwise @rubyalicerose on Instagram or www.rubyalicerose.com

Any other words of wisdom for us?

Make sure you’re doing something for yourself every day - something really just for you, even if it’s just stopping to be in your own skin, to think, ‘Here I am.’  It doesn’t matter how big or small it is, but prioritise it.

Thank you Ruby for adding colour and kindness to the world with your art!   We have a limited amount of kids’ leggings (made from the t-shirt offcuts that would otherwise go to waste), a baby onesie and pink unisex t-shirt available in the Finding Joy collection - link below. 

A portion of proceeds from each sale will be donated to Women’s Refuge.

If you are a creative looking to create sustainable and ethical basics and/or fundraise for a cause we would love to hear from you info@littleyellowbird.co.nz

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