Make do, can do with Roobedo – a fresh perspective on Recycling and Repurposing from Highland Perthshire
From her small studio space in the picturesque Hamlet of Moulin, near Pitlochry, designer-maker and textile tutor, Ruth Morris creates classic and contemporary capsule collections using luxury Harris tweed, local Glenlyon tweed as well as a range of other fabrics that sell all over the world.
Taking a break from completing a felted Harris tweed dressing gown, complete with hand stitched edge and eternity scarf for a client in Australia, Ruth shares some of her thoughts at the foremost of her mind this Spring.
“Sustainability and the circular economy are themes that seems to be literally revolving constantly in my mind. I keep coming back to these ideas and so it’s become my ambition to take a new direction in my work in 2016 in which I aim to respond and reflect this ethos, with Scottish fabrics remaining at the centre of my work.“
“I’m well aware of the sad reality of the side effects of today’s fast disposable fashion and textiles industry. Presented with so much choice and cheapness all around us, it is much easier to consume what is convenient without thinking too much about the larger impact or consequences of our choices – particularly in textiles with the continuing use of toxic chemicals, haphazard disposal of waste, unprotected workers and unsafe practices. These conditions simply cannot be sustained long-term if we are to continue living on this earth.”
“Roobedo creations are, and always have been, practical and made-to-last. It goes somewhat against the grain, or commercial sense to make clothes and other creations that last, but I find that my customers come back time and time again. Sometimes it’s to buy new things for themselves, or to purchase gifts for others, sometimes it’s just to ask me to fix or reline their original, but now threadbare purchase! It’s wonderful to know that my creations have become a customer’s favourite, go-to item of clothing. “
“Creating sustainable luxury pieces is one way in which I can make a small difference. For example, I prefer to use local raw materials such as Glenlyon tweed alongside re-using, repairing and repurposing textiles.”
“Invited to meet with the Scottish Textiles Academic Group gives me great perspective, as does part time lecturing in garment technology and pattern cutting at Dundee and Angus College. Passing on skills and enthusiasm for creating, making and repurposing is another way I enjoy inspiring students to stop, think and create rather than just dispose and buy. In many ways, I do what I teach and I teach what I do!”
Ruth grew up in Dundee. Annual family holidays to the Outer Hebrides from the age of four introduced Ruth to the wonderful story and origin of Harris Tweed.
This is how a life long love of this remarkable cloth began. Graduating from The Scottish College of Textiles in 1993, Ruth went on to work in a variety of roles in the Clothing Industry including being a buyer, a merchandiser, a designer, a machinist, a Pattern Cutter and a Garment Technologist, before setting up her own business Roobedo in Edinburgh in 1999.
Moving to Pitlochry ten years ago brought Glenlyon tweed, which is woven in Aberfeldy, to her attention. “Feeling lighter in weight than Harris Tweed, it has a beautiful drape, soft handle and almost a bloom on it’s surface”. I was already aware of Glenlyon as a place through the music of Martyn Bennett who I had the privilege of meeting in Edinburgh. In fact, I made a few outfits for some of his band on their first Scottish tour. And here I am, wandering the hills of Glenlyon only last week in search of inspiration. After a successful initial series of coffee inspired creations last year, Ruth plans to work once again with Glenlyon Coffee to repurpose their waste products ie coffee sacks into accessories”.
Ruth is also involved in a new, local initiative. In partnership with Zero Waste Highland Perthshire this year, Roobedo will be running a Repair Café (for Clothing) at Café Calluna in Pitlochry on Wednesday 30th March 7-9pm. For more information you can check the website www.roobedo.com or call her direct on 0781 470 4256.