Digswell Arts ceramicist Ruta Bartkeviciute, based at the Fenners studios in Letchworth, was crowned one of the winners of the 2018 Liberty Open Call on the 8th May 2018, coinciding with the launch of the 4th edition of London Craft Week which ran from the 9th – 13th May.
Liberty, the world-famous London department store launched their Liberty Open Call campaign in January 2018 on Instagram stating they were “on a mission to find the UK’s best untapped interior design talent”. Inviting designers and crafts people to submit a photo of their product to Instagram using the hashtag #LibertyOpenCall, Ruta saw the opportunity and uploaded a selection of her handmade ceramic artworks online.
Out of the 9,500 entries that were received, Liberty’s buying team chose 12 finalists and invited the public to assist in choosing a winner. The prize was for the opportunity to have the designers pieces stocked at the legendary store.
Ruta’s vibrantly colourful ceramic pieces proved not only to be popular with the Liberty judges but also the voting public as she was named as one of the three winners, sharing the honour with another ceramicist, Katch Skinner, and the artist and designer Alex Chinneck. Ruta says of winning, “I’m overwhelmed with excitement and feel this has changed my career. It is a huge opportunity to get to work with such a prestigious company which attracts many interesting people”.
At the launch event Ruta was interviewed by London Live; http://www.londonlive.co.uk/news/2018-05-09/liberty-open-call-the-winnners and afterwards by the team at Liberty. Her interview with Liberty can be read in full here, along with the other winners; http://www.libertylondon.com/uk/instore-pages/liberty-open-call.html
During the interview, Ruta notes that “some of my first customers used to say that my pieces would suit being in Liberty, five years later I have found out that I’m one of the winners of Open Call”. One of Ruta’s pieces, currently stocked at Liberty, was also featured in the 12th May edition of The Telegraph’s Saturday magazine, written by the interiors journalist Jessica Doyle, promoting the event.
Ruta interest in ceramics began when she studied at Vilnius Academy of Art in Lithuania, gaining a Master’s degree in 2013. Ruta’s artwork is inspired by ancient Baltic symbols, particularly the tree of life and imagery found within nature. Her illustrative surface patterns of flowers and animals are given a contemporary feel owing to a joyful mix of a distinctive colour palette and style; inspired by subtle references found within Lithuanian folk art. Each ceramic piece explores themes ranging from nature, harmony, love and happiness. When viewed, Ruta’s ceramic work creates a permanent feeling of spring and optimism. To see other examples of Ruta’s ceramics please visit: http://www.rutabceramics.com
Ruta follows in the footsteps of other Digswell Arts ceramic fellow’s who reached critical acclaim, including the world famous ceramicist Hans Coper, who had a studio with Digswell Arts in the 1950s and 1960s. Coper’s work is now held in private and public art collections around the world, including the permanent collection of the V&A. In 2018, one of Coper’s early ceramic vases sold for a record £300,000 at auction. It is without doubt that Ruta’s ceramic pieces, with their unique creative style and recognisable aesthetic, will soon become collectors items themselves.