Ruties, psycho-poetic sagas on wood

Ruties, small wooden gifts with a cosy feeling. Credits EtnoDesign

Ruty’s got a soul. It is made of a story.

Rūta from EtnoDesign

Ethnic heritage with a jazzy attitude

Wood, folk and… jazz. If you had to describe EtnoDesign in just three words, those would be the right ones. The Vilnius-based creative studio draws inspiration from ethnic heritage and reinterprets it from the jazzy point of view.

Tea Wolf of the Cloud, by EtnoDesign. “All the small wolves sitting on the Cloud day after day and nitting the nets of dreams, escape on Thursday night to catch some adventure! This is the day when the Cloud traditionally visits his beloved aunt and so something unusual begins later to be shared as a bed-time story. Look, one of the small wolves is here, shifts from one frozen foot to another. Is the tea kettle boiling already to get him warm?”

Tea wolf of the cloud. Credits EtnoDesign
Tea wolf of the cloud. Credits EtnoDesign

Founded in 2010 by a family of Linas and Rūta Ambrasūnai, EtnoDesign is based on a mixed background of studies, including Biology, Ecology, Economy (Linas) as well as History and Theology (Rūta). A sort of research into cultural identity resulting in… small wood-scented gifts.

Baptized as Ruties (Rutellini in Italian, Rūtusėliai in original), these wooden creatures embody an original concept that fuses together wood, memory and legend.

Notebook in flexible wood. Credits EtnoDesign
Notebook in flexible wood. Credits EtnoDesign

“We believe our thoughts grow up like trees. That’s how the idea of notebooks in flexible-wood covers was born: a wood-scented book that keeps you company while you live your busy life in the city, far from nature.”

Be it a coaster for tea, a notebook for new bright ideas, a wooden puzzle for early guests or any other interior decoration, each Ruty has a written personalized story by which it was inspired.

Hoopoe with a wish to slow down time, by EtnoDesign. “He calmly sits within an ivy-covered egg, magically hidden from the hectic world of rush where appointments are schedulled at least 7 weeks in advance. Here it goes another way around. The egg is full of slow time – here people do not count hours but talk and share their lives and their dinners as in good old times. Cell phones, work reports and overtime hours deprive of power, because here and now only what is truly important in life really matters. The Hoopoe enjoys good wine of friendship, unending community tea and even longer conversations among dear people. May the wish for slowed time come true!”

Hoopoe with a wish to slow down time. Credits EtnoDesign
Hoopoe with a wish to slow down time. Credits EtnoDesign

Met in Operae 2012 in Turin, Linas and Rūta kindly answered to my questions.

Why wood?

Rūta: During his studies, Linas used to travel a lot in wild nature. Carving small sculptures out of wood became one of his hobbies. Wood plays an important role in each culture. For us, Lithuanians, it is deeply grown into our way to be, into our songs and our creed. Wood has kept its charm and beauty even in the age of state-of-the-art technologies. It’s alive. It breathes and gives comfort, and soothes away troubles.  

Wood & stories: how the fusion was born?

Linas: Storytelling that accompanies each Ruty started naturally, from dialogues and encounters. When choosing a Ruty, people were often asking: “What is this?” Rūta replied, inventing Ruty’s story ad hoc. With time, those legends grew up and multiplied, and people started asking to write them down. 

Rūta: We’re happy people choose a Ruty according to his story. We believe words contain more good energy than a mere thing-gift. Ruties remind us of things we’ve often forgotten. They are a sort of blessing or wishing: of hope, good luck or a brighter day.

Ruty or Story, which comes first?

Rūta: Sometimes it’s a story to bring a Ruty, sometimes it’s just the other way around. Some Ruties attend their stories for months. Gestation period might vary.

Complete the missing part: “The world will be saved by…”

Ruty: Good-hearted people.

Italians love comics. If you were about to create a fumetti, which Ruties would you choose as protagonists?

Rūta: Our three sea friends: fox, cat and hare. They live in a timeless world where everyone is happy, here and now.

Bonus track: il fumetto

Traduzione dal lituano: Jurgita Po. Poetic touch: Davide Ferrari. Foto di EtnoDesign.

Il Volpacchiotto del mare: Cammina sulla battigia lasciando le orme impresse nella sabbia. Al ritorno le trova piene zeppe di pesciolini. Li raccoglie fino all’ultimo e… li ributta in acqua! Poi corre sulle dune dove lo aspettano il leprotto e il gattino con un delizioso tè di timo appena infuso.

Volpacchiotto del mare. Credits EtnoDesign
Volpacchiotto del mare. Credits EtnoDesign

Il Leprotto del mare: Il suo pellicciotto è variopinto come i riflessi dell’acqua increspata in una giornata di sole. Ha le orecchie lunghissime per sentire i passi di danza dei pesciolini sui fondali del mare.

Leprotto del mare. Credits EtnoDesign
Leprotto del mare. Credits EtnoDesign

Il Gattino del mare: Il suo pellicciotto luccica come il mare sfavillante in una giornata d’estate. Attraversalo con lo sguardo e il mondo ti apparirà molto più allegro di un attimo fa.

Gattino del mare. Credits EtnoDesign
Gattino del mare. Credits EtnoDesign

For more information please visit EtnoDesign official website.

Words by Jurga
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