JODIE RUFFLE X GURLS TALK X EMBELLISHED TALK
BY ALICE WILBY
These wonderful Gurls Talk tees have been hand embroidered to express emotions, feelings and inspirations. All proceeds from the Embellished Gurls Talk collection go directly to the Baytree Centre, a charity working with and empowering women and girls through education and skills development programmes.
We love this project! Can you give us a little background on it?
Yeah, I’m really proud to be a part of it! I’d previously met Rebeckah from Embellished Talk when she was writing an article about my work and we’d stayed in contact. Then she asked if I’d be interested in being part of this collaboration and I of course said yes straight away. I think Gurls Talk is an incredible platform of support for girls of all age, race, sexuality and background. The t-shirts are raising money for The Baytree Centre in Brixton, which is a great local cause so I felt really good about doing something positive for the area I live in too.
How did the collaboration with Gurls talk come about?
Rebeckah from Embellished Talk really masterminded the whole thing – I think she just got in touch with them and suggested us embroidering some of their t-shirts for a good cause and they were really excited about the idea. The t-shirts then got sent over from Everybody in LA and we were just told to do what we want with them. There were 5 of us doing it and we all reacted in our own ways but I think all took inspiration from what Gurls Talk and Everybody are about.
What inspired the design you did for them?
I love the whole concept of Gurls Talk – an inclusive, supportive platform that values and celebrates everything female. It’s an amazing place to share, inspire and be inspired. I wanted to do something really fun and positive so I looked at stereotypically ‘girlie’ emblems; hearts and flowers and translated the iPhone emoijis of them through embroidery.
My work centres around a return to traditional craft and I love exploring the imperfections and unpredictabilities that come with the process of embroidery. I often work from the inside out, so all the knots and ends are on the outside. For Gurls Talk, I wanted to really embrace the value of imperfections. Not only do I love the deconstructed aesthetic, but I think it’s an important message to all girls – imperfections are beautiful!
If we could wave our magic wand, who else would you like to collaborate with and why?
Oh wow, so many people, the list is endless! I think it’s interesting to collaborate with anyone, whatever their practice because I love working on projects with more than one perspective. There are so many designers and big brands I’d love to work with. At the moment I’m working with a lot of second hand sportswear and applying embroidery and embellishment to it to disrupt ideas of traditional couture. So I’d love to work with one of the big sports brands, Adidas or Nike or something. Or, for totally different reasons, Grayson Perry. He’s just a real personal hero of mine.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I think just “don’t stop”. You can get really downhearted when you’re working, working, working and feel like you’re not quite getting where you want to be. It can be really soul destroying sometimes but I think you just have to carry on, stay determined, do your thing. My friend Scott always tells me “you didn’t come this far to only come this far!” He’s always good for re-inspiring me. I think everyone gets where they need to be in the end… I hope!
What’s next for Jodie Ruffle?
I’m working on lots of different projects at the moment. I’m enjoying collaborating with others and concentrating on a smaller element of something rather than producing whole collections myself. That’s something I’m really excited by because you’re reacting off of each others’ energy and ideas, or from materials you’re finding and reusing so things can develop in a way that’s really unexpected.
There’s lots in the pipeline so we’ll have to wait and see!
Thanks Jodie and huge props to all the other embroiderers (that's an awkward word) for making such beautiful pieces, both inside and out. Give them a gander here:
Rebeckah Kemi Apara - @embellishedtalk
Wasima Akhtar - @akhtar.wasima
Sofia Salazar - @_hiedra_
Nicole Chui - @thatsewnicole
and Jodie obviously @jodieruffle