It’s our birthday!
In the blink of an eye, Ada Gallery turns 8 years old on Sunday 27th March, we can't believe it!
This time eight years ago, we were frantically painting, unpacking and adding the finishing touches to our boutique shop, ready to open to the public and launch Ada Gallery in Market Harborough!
How it all began.
Owner Ruth has always a passion for the creative processes. Inspired by a contemporary jewellery exhibition that Ruth saw at the Barbican in London, this lead her to study a foundation year in Art & Design, then a degree in Jewellery Design and Silversmithing at the School of Jewellery in Birmingham. Where she was able to study jewellery in Nova Scotia, Canada for 3 months. Followed by further training at Bishopsland Educational Trust in 2006/7 where Ruth learnt more business & silversmithing skills. For example hand raising wine tumblers, bowls & vases from sheets of silver and hand forging spoons. Ruth was fortunate to exhibit and sell her work at the the ‘Collect’ exhibition at the V&A.
When completing her post grad year, supported by National Lottery funding and a Leicestershire Arts council bursary, Ruth pursued a career in jewellery making, whilst teaching on the side. Fuelled by a desire to craft unique contemporary jewellery and run her own business, Ruth then made her dream a reality in March 2014 by opening her own boutique gallery nestled in Bennett's Courtyard, just off the main High Street in Market Harborough. Thanks to a business loan from the Sir Thomas Whitehouse Charity.
Supporting British Craftsmanship.
From the beginning, Ruth wanted Ada Gallery to showcase creative talent from around the UK.
Selecting designer-makers whose work she connected with, Ruth wanted to highlight established and emerging talent to offer customers something truly different.
Each individual piece of jewellery is handmade by makers such as Susanna Hanl, Laura Gravestock and Shimara Carlow. The collection has grown and developed during the eight years since its opening, to now stock over 50 artists' work!
With every individual maker comes a new inspiration and new techniques. From the natural formations of lichens explored by Kate Bijac, to the kinetic makers of the '60s explored by Sarah Pulvertaft, each jeweller offers a totally new aesthetic. They're so talented!
Cave Treasure by Ruth Wood.
Beyond being an independent jewellery store, Ada Gallery is also home to Ruth's jewellery workshop, where she busily works away creating pieces for her Cave Treasure collection.
Inspired by ancient artefacts and treasures, Ruth designs and produces one-off pendants, rings and earrings available to buy in the store.
Beyond that, however, her loyal customers keep her busy with a constant stream of commission work. Where Ruth works hard to design and create engagement rings, wedding bands, and bespoke pieces for the individual wearer using gold and silver metals with a range of precious and semi-precious gemstones.
Ruth often working intuitively to use stones from existing pieces, to form completely new pieces, showcasing her signature irregular style.
The Ada community.
Ruth has always been lucky to have had a small but wonderfully supportive team in the Gallery over the years.
Jenny, Sue, Emma and Tina have all helped Ruth to make the Gallery the success it is today, and particularly supported when her little boy, Jude, was a baby. Juggling a newborn and a small business hasn't been easy at times!
The current team are a very creative girl gang! Supported by fellow makers, Sam is the Gallery's eco queen, who runs a small business creating upcycled shirts, Jodie who helps local retailers with their online presence, along with the newest addition, Mandeep, who is a talented print illustrator.
Having a team that understands the creative process, have incredible attention to detail and understand the pressures of running a small business are a fantastic support to Ruth. Knowing her shop is in such good hands when she's busy with commission work or time off with her son is invaluable.
Beyond the Gallery walls though, Ada is part of a dynamic community of small independent shops. Ruth loves being part of such an awesome group of small businesses, each adding to the vibrant and bustling town centre experience who collectively work hard to support each other.
Celebrating 8 years.
Mostly though, Ada Gallery would be nothing without its fantastic customers!
Ruth is continually surprised and humbled by the loyal and dedicated customers who have shopped with the Gallery through the eight years since opening. Particularly those customers who make such an effort to support the Gallery regularly for birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions.
Recent challenges to retail have been enormous. Yet somehow, with the support of its customers, Ada has navigated its way through Brexit, Covid and various lockdowns, and is still going strong!
Ruth was really excited to launch their long-awaited online shop in October 2021, which continues to move the business forward & offer customers streamlined ways to shop when life is busy.
It'll be really exciting to see Ada grow and develop in the future too, with lots of exciting plans and new makers to introduce to the shop!
As a thank you for all of your support Ruth will be offering a very special birthday treat, watch this space for an announcement coming very soon!