The birth of Ruftyroohah
An East Antrim based business creating their own books, prints, T-Shirts and greetings cards. All inspired by our life and culture in Northern Ireland.
The father and daughter team of Stephen Hall and Natasha Marsden have joined forces to celebrate what is special in the north east of the island.
If you visit St. George’s Market, Belfast, on a Sunday, you may be surprised by a stall called “RUFTY-ROO-HAH!”. A taster and a slice of Northern Irish life. “People will often stand looking at our stall, just smiling and often laughing, whether they are from here or just visiting” says Natasha.
When Natasha Marsden was just a baby, she was set to grow up in quite an unusual household where being artistic was just the norm. Her mum and dad (an art teacher and graphic designer, respectively) had met at the local art college in Belfast at the end of the 1970s. They fell in love, got married, and set up home in North Belfast. Soon after Natasha’s dad became a freelance illustrator, working long hours in the rather cramped studio space of just five feet by seven, in their small home.
Something had to change, so in 1989 the Hall family moved to Whitehead in East Antrim. To an old Victorian semi, which they are still fixing up. “Over the next twenty six years my dad developed his craft, not only as an illustrator and a writer but many other things too. I watched all that happen with my sister Rebekah. I even remember watching my dad produce his first self published book. I was about eleven at the time”, says Natasha. “It was called The Giant’s Causeway. This story was re-told using a lot of our local words and it reflects our sense of humour here. It has its very own special flavour and bite.”
Natasha continues . . . “I gained quite a lot of experience in retail, both here and in England. When I came home a few years ago I was thinking about a new business and my dad and I just got talking about what skills he had and what I do best, which is selling, retail and developing new product lines. Anyway, the idea for “RUFTY-ROO-HAH!” just evolved from there. Around a conversation.”
“All the work speaks for itself and is highly original. It celebrates who we are and how we sound. It has a strong sense of self esteem and a deep love of the place and of home. “RUFTY-ROO-HAH” is way of saying who we are. A whole positive mixture of things.