Always creative through her careers in new product development and event planning in the former Soviet Union, Ruth Jennings now channels her artistic vision into hand making bespoke shoes and in 2015 launched RJ Selraef. Each pair of shoes is completely hand made with materials from her extensive leather library. Here’s how this designer stays current one step at a time.
IN HER EARBUDS
“In the studio drafting designs or patterning, I’ll blast music to encourage creativity—currently Cage The Elephant, Alt-J, or The Little Willies. Constructing a shoe or contending with my enormous industrial belt-sander calls for chill sounds from The Rolling Stones or Johnny Cash. Intensity from The Black Keys or Iggy Pop kill it for hand stretching leather over a shoe last or painting a canvas. I love the sound of vinyl and recently picked up some great LPs including Parliament, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Sly and The Family Stone, and John Lee Hooker.”
ON HER MOBILE
“Inspiration happens daily, so my phone camera and photo editing apps are in constant use. I also love Instagram for creative design fuel with so many incredible makers and motivators. A few of my current faves are @cheryl_pope, @ed.templeton, and @stellavonsenger. For my news fix The Skimm’s concise synopsis delivered with a bit of sarcasm is perfect, and emails from my favorite vegan websites like Vegan Bowls, Sophie Uliano, and Rabbit and Wolves ensure that I am well fed.”
ON HER NIGHTSTAND
“When traveling, visual stimulus, thoughtful details, imaginative uses of materials, and talking with locals all provide an unparalleled opportunity for me to change my perspective, resulting in tremendous creative output. Two great memoirs of globe wanderings, and the people encountered along the way are Unbound, by Steph Jagger and Trespassing Across America, by Ken Ilgunas. Both are incredible reminders to never stop questioning—and more importantly listening, and to constantly continue creating. At home, I always have I Wonder by Marian Bantjes nearby—it is the most visually creative design book I have ever come across.”