Ruth Slater

Ruth is a contemporary illustrator from the Isle of Bute. Her work features pen and ink drawings of animals, places and nature and she turns these fantastic illustrations into products, including fine bone china mugs, coasters, prints and cards, which can all be found on her isle20 shop. We asked her about what inspires her and about life working as an artist in the wonderful Isle of Bute.

Where do you find your inspiration? 

Wildlife and the amazing island I live on. I love to capture the character of an animal be it wild or domestic and I’ve been drawing parts of the island in collections of small images. When I’m walking my working cocker spaniel, Murphy, I get the bonus of great views along with the peace and quiet to think about what I’m working on…a walking meditation!

Any collaborations/Projects? 

I’ve just collaborated with another islander and Isle20 seller AniMac on a map for the RSPB for Kelvingrove Park and so I have more plans for maps on the island. Here’s a glimpse of a future project below.

I would love to create a book of all the Small Drawings illustrations that I’ve created based on parts of the island. 

What are the biggest challenges of running your own small island business? 

Managing my time as a mother of two children and the time constraints that brings, especially in the school holidays while running a business. Running Bute School of Art is a passion of mine and allows me to fill my studio with laughter and enjoyment while doing something I love. Creating artwork for Mount Stuart, Kames Castle Cottages and various local businesses is a huge honour and pleasure. 

What does being an islander mean to you? 

Being an islander means being part of a strong community and with that comes the support and encouragement from people who really know you. It also means that there has to be complete honesty in what you do, there’s no hiding on an island! I’ve met people I would never have come into contact with on the mainland because of either their profession or their age difference and formed lasting friendships with. I am much more tolerant than I might have been otherwise because you know it could be a relative or friend of someone you know. 

When you see this view it’s easy to see where Ruth finds her inspiration to create her beautiful illustrations. Take a closer look at Ruth’s fantastic work and products in her isle20Shop including her new Scottish Maps series with gold leaf.

From the shop