The Great British outdoors is an amazing place and Emma Ruth agrees. She is the helpful half of Miscellaneous Adventures, the illustration and outdoors idea of Andrew Groves, which creates beautiful wooden tools and passes on the knowledge through workshops. She also creates the most amazing embroidery and works on a load of cool projects through Emma Ruth Embroiders. Here she tells us more on her adventuring big and small…
Some of my happiest memories are of exploring places (usually in the rain) discovering secret coves and caves and playing in rock pools with my little sister and brother. When I was a kid my parents would us on lots of adventures, often to places like Cornwall, Wales and Scotland.
In my early twenties, I met my boyfriend (now husband) Andrew who is a surfer and snowboarder, two things I’d never done. We quit our jobs and moved to Cornwall where I learnt to surf and then to Japan where I learned to snowboard. These experiences led to an interest in hiking and camping and we’ve been adventuring ever since.
The Great British outdoors, it’s some of the most beautiful in the world. We have everything, from mountains up in Scotland and Wales to amazing beaches down in the West Country. Plus, nowhere is really that far to get to and most places are pretty accessible by public transport. You can jump on a train in London in the morning and be in the middle of the countryside by the afternoon. Escaping the city is never that far away.
Adventuring is one of the most accessible things for anyone to get into and there’s nothing to stop girls getting out there. All you need is a basic plan and the right equipment. It’s proven that being in nature is good for your mind and body so getting out in the fresh air and experiencing new things is always going to be a good thing.
It’s also good to get outside your comfort zone every now and again. Push yourself a little and see what you’re capable of, it’ll usually be much more than you thought.
Miscellaneous Adventures are all kinds of adventures, big or small. You don’t need to climb a mountain or cycle across a continent for it to be an adventure. A walk somewhere you’ve not been before, climbing a tree or just learning a new skill; all those things are adventures. More then anything, it’s just about having fun.
Andrew started Misc Adventures in 2011 when it was just the shop. He makes the wooden items and I make the fabric products. Then in April last year, we launched a Kickstarter project to fund the workshops. That’s when I became much more involved. I help organise and promote the workshops, make sure our students know where they’re going, take care of admin tasks and I’m on hand all day making sure the fire is going, wood is chopped and that everything is running smoothly. I still make pouches and other fabric items and recently did a series of cabin cross stitched pieces too, I like to make sure I still have a creative role alongside all the admin stuff.
Our woodland woodcarving workshops started last year and run once a month from May to October. They are designed to get people away from their 9-5 jobs and into the woods for a day to learn a bunch of useful skills. We have a camp fire going all day and there’s plenty of time in between carving to explore the woods and enjoy being outdoors. We’ve met some really great people along the way, so it’s also an opportunity for those who come along to do the same.
The sort of skills that might just save your butt if you find yourself in a sticky situation on a camping/surfing/hiking trip. We teach the essential skills you need to carve a wooden object (usually a spoon) using an axe, carving knife and crook knife. The main aim is to show you how these skills can be applied to a whole range of situations. For example, if you need something to hang your kettle from over a fire, or feather sticks to get your fire going in the first place, we’ll teach you the knife techniques you’ll need to make them. Once you have the basic woodcarving skills mastered, it’s a great thing to be able to do at the end of a long day’s adventuring; when the fire is going, you can sit by it and make something useful and beautiful from a chunk of wood, which is pretty cool.
When I’m not working on Miscellaneous Adventures stuff, I’m a graphic designer working in embroidery. I mainly embroider type and am currently working on a project where I’m sewing a different song lyric for each week of 2014, which is pretty fun.
We’d like to take the workshops on the road and have tentative plans to run a series of them in the USA at some point. We’re working on lots of new products, big and small and we also want to collaborate with lots more makers and crafts people. There are lots more adventures to be had!