While cassettes and VHS may not have aged too well in our digital world, there’s something about vinyl that means it never loses its magic.
And one woman is championing the old school records as works of art… literally.
On a mission to create eye-catching, statement jewellery, artist Ruthie Ru transforms discarded vinyl into striking fashion treasures to make you stand out from the crowd.
Chatting exclusively to Uspire, Ruthie told us about her quirky creations and why she chose to work with vinyl over traditional materials such as gold and silver.
Ruthie said: “I have always loved vinyl records. I used to sneak off to my parents record player and spend hours poring over Abba, Petula Clark and Leo Sayer LPs.
“They feel so nostalgic, the crackle at the beginning, the sleeve art, the hum of the turntable, the crazy sounds when the needle gets stuck in a scratch.”
As a nod to her love of music, Ruthie and her partner nabbed a load of scratched vinyl at a car boot sale to use as place mats at their wedding. It was only after their big day, with a pile of unplayable records sat in a cupboard, that Ruthie began hatching ideas.
She continued: “I was looking at them thinking, ‘There must be something I can do with you.’ There was no way I was sending them to a landfill, and so I started experimenting with chopping them up. I needed new earrings to go with an outfit, and boom, inspiration struck.
“Vinyl is such a great medium, no two are the same, each scratch tells a story, little notes written on the labels; it’s super light so I can make huge earrings and they weigh nothing; the colour range available is incredible; the grooves catch the light beautifully. I love that every piece I make has had a life before, which makes it what it is and all the more special – like us too, I guess.”
Having always been crafty as a child, Ruthie studied Stage Management and Technical Theatre at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School – which covered everything that wasn’t acting.
She spent the majority of her time there in the props and carpentry department, before pursuing a career in the West End. Yet she found herself on a different path when she became a mother.
However, despite the demands of nappy changes, bath-time and hungry mouths to feed, her innate need for creativity could not be silenced, and so Nothing New was born.
Ruthie not only crafts beautiful jewellery, but also a variety of kitsch homeware including wall signs, dreamcatchers, bunting, and decorative bowls.
As a child of the 80s, the mum-of-two loves nothing more than returning to her roots and uses 80s/90s fashion as her muse with its oversized and colourful statement pieces.
After all, who can forget icons such as Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Boy George?!
Alongside the feel-good factor of her zany mini masterpieces, Ruthie hopes to inspire people to reflect on the life that vinyl had before it metamorphosed into its new purpose.
She said: “I’d love people to choose to buy what I make as it makes them feel good, but also realise that just because something has finished its life as one thing, it doesn’t mean it gets thrown away.
“We all grow and change as time goes by, with our experiences making us who we are. My creations would be nothing without the life that brought them to where they are.”
Ruthie has also been using CDs recently which have brought a whole new dimension to her work as she loves how shiny they are.
The queen of upcycling hopes that her art can continue to serve as a platform for people to take a break from the 24/7 world we live in.
Ruthie concluded: “Art is a huge expression of who we are – whether we’ve made it or chosen to admire it. Stopping to appreciate art, in whatever form, not only gives us time to breathe but also allows us to question what we see and understand.
“I think that there’s far too much speed and immediacy to our lives these days, and taking time to colour, or paint, or read or just enjoy the view can only benefit our wellbeing.”
She added: “As a busy mum of two small boys, I constantly struggle to find time for me, but when I do (and manage the guilt demons!) I realise that it’s so important, even if it’s just joining in with them when they’re colouring.”
To take a peek at Ruthie’s store, click here: Nothing New.