Our accidental creative journey: when we first met as teenagers there was no way we could ever have imagined we would be a pair of artists living in the Huon Valley Tasmania. We were like a lot of teenagers growing up in small regional towns quite lost and without any life direction or ambition. But there was a spark of imagination for a more fulfilling life and the understanding that if we wanted it, we had to create that life.
So began a lot of investment in educating ourselves, acquiring skills and undertaking tertiary study - I (Ruth) wanted to change the world for younger people and the environment so I became a teacher. Darren meanwhile worked his way from warehousing to retail management.
In amongst all of this we discovered our passion for creativity - this occurred through the neccessity of thrift, for example we needed a coffee table so Darren made one out of an old recycled door. We then began to supplement our incomes by making mirrors and picture frames from old timber lining boards and selling them at local markets.
Our entrance into the world of making art started with my (Ruth) teaching studies, one of my assignments was to make a small sculpture..... without having any experience I decided to carve a pod of dolphins out of Australian Red Cedar, the Dean and a few other lecturers then commissioned me to make more sculptures which paid for our first set of carving chisels. From this small group of commissions both Darren and I were hooked and dreamt of making a living from our art making.
The dream has had many diversions over the past 25 years, we established Darru Art Studio a small art school in the Illawarra which we built up to having 163 students enrolled per week, we held various exhibitions and participated in many events. But of course the biggest diversion as most would agree was parenthood. Our journey with Allira has been wonderful and has directed our decision making on how we can provide for her; we moved to a farm on the north coast of NSW, where Allira attended a small Steiner School in which I also taught for 10 years. Surrounded by beaches and farmlands we established a small design business called RAD Art Designs, Ruth and Allira designed a whole bunch of print designs and created a range of printed linens, t-shirts and gift cards, whilst the D side of things aka Darren made bespoke furniture from recycled timbers and sculptures big and small.
With the search for secondary education options came the realisation that we had outgrown that area, and felt there would be more opportunities in living closer to a major city - the city of Hobart and surrounds has more than fulfilled that dream. The arts, cultural and business opportunities here are in abundance for us. Read our farm story to find out what happened next.