Summer Inspiration

Summers in Minnesota are short so I spend as much time outdoors as possible. I draw inspiration from wildflowers and plants growing along a nearby trail that winds along a creek through meadows and woods. My new Orange Grove art was inspired by one of those walks. Of course we don’t actually grow oranges in Minnesota but my branches needed a pop of color so they evolved into an orange tree! I guess that’s the great thing about inspiration, you can never be sure where it will lead you!

Travel always inspires me and a trip to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia this summer was a visual feast of monumental architecture, amazing museums and superb people-watching. I love discovering patterns in unexpected places when I travel, like a beautifully sculpted medieval coat of armor I spied in the National Gallery of Art that inspired some new geometric prints.

Clockwise from top left: Wildflowers along my favorite walking trail; new Orange Grove art; new geometric prints: Benday Stripes and Surf; Sculpture in the National Gallery of Arts; Visiting the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.

Clockwise from top left: Wildflowers along my favorite walking trail; new Orange Grove art; new geometric prints: Benday Stripes and Surf; Sculpture in the National Gallery of Arts; Visiting the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.

A La Carte Napkins for PPD

Summers in Minnesota go by soooo quickly! How could it already be September?! This summer seemed to go by even faster than usual. I guess it’s probably because, in addition to the usual vacations, trips to the cabin, sending kids off to camp and skydiving weekends at the dropzone, I was busy doing follow-ups after the Surtex show in May. Some good things came out of that show that I can’t wait to share with you, but it’s still a little too early to announce.

In the mean time, I’m pleased to show off my new A La Carte napkins for PPD (Paper Products Design). I think they’ll be great for entertaining this fall. There will also be matching porcelain mugs that’ll be packaged in decorative gift boxes. I’ll be sure to post photos of them as soon as I get samples.

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Flowers in Abundance

I’ve had a number of requests for floral designs lately. Maybe it has do with the brutal winter we’re having — I know I’m ready to start thinking about spring. I haven’t done alot of florals in the past so this has been an interesting challenge. It’s not that I don’t like florals, on the contrary. But since florals are such a popular and enduring theme for artists and designers I just wasn’t sure what I could bring to the party. But once I got going I had a lot of fun working with flowers. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been working on.

(All products shown are mock-ups. Artwork is available for licensing.)

Cutting Garden by Kris Ruff-blog

Wild Flowers by Kris Ruff-blogPoppies by Kris Ruff-blogLazy Daisy by Kris Ruff-Blog

Toning it Down

It has been a busy few weeks since my last post. I’ve been working with a couple great companies developing new products that will be on store shelves this spring. Among them will be a line of coffee mugs (40 different mugs in all!) as well as my first quilting fabric collection. I look forward to showing them off as soon as I get samples.

In the mean time, I wanted to share a different look. The last couple posts featured lots of bright colors, which I love, but sometimes a more subtle color palette is just what you need. Warm greys and muted tones add a level of sophistication to products like accessories. And table settings in subtle hues are so versatile and allow your meal to take center stage.

While this monotone look may not have the same punch as more colorful options,  I don’t think you’ll find it boring either.

(All products shown are mock-ups and the artwork is available for licensing.)

Beach Bags ©2013 Kris Ruff Grey Placesettings 2 ©2013 Kris Ruff Grey Messenger bags ©2013 Kris Ruff Grey placesettings 1 ©2013 Kris Ruff


I’m tentatively calling this new artwork VINES. But are they vines, or do they look more like fronds or ivy? Or garlands? Or seaweed for that matter? Whatever the name,  I’m really excited about this new design. It pairs nicely with my PETALS and FLOURISH patterns and will look great on paper or melamine plates, mugs and paper goods.

(All products shown are mock-ups. This art is available for licensing.)

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Fun with Dots

Here’s a fun little collection I just finished. I can think of lots of different uses for these little gems. They’d be perfect for gift wrap, but wouldn’t they also be fun on paper plates, napkins, journals, bedding, upholstery fabric and placemats!

(All products shown are mock-ups. This art is available for licensing.)


Boys’ Bedding

I think boys are under served when it comes to their bedrooms. When decorating my son’s room, I found the available bedding choices mostly limited to basic stripes and plaids along with sports, dinosaur and transportation themes. So what do you choose for a brainy, creative kid who’s not interested in sports and has out-grown T. Rex and fire trucks? How about some playful patterns in boyish colors that would appeal to a boy’s creative side and last through his teen years. Below are some of my ideas. So if you know anyone in the bedding business, please send them my way!

(All products shown are mock-ups. This art is available for licensing.)




Counting Sheep

I think sheep are funny. I found myself drawing one a couple weeks ago and then a second one and a third and before I knew it there was a small flock of them on my screen. They stayed there happily until I could figure out what to do with them. Turns out they’re Counting Sheep, with a kid’s bedroom being their preferred habitat, where they can teach counting skills while helping a little one fall asleep. Paired with a colorful coordinating striped rug, they would create a bright cheerful room. Beware of Sheep #5 though, I think he might eat your socks if you leave them lying about.

These sheep would be equally happy on a set of notebooks for school. One for Math, two for English, three for geography… you get the idea.

(All products shown are mock-ups. Counting Sheep is available for licensing in all categories.)



There’s a great little neighborhood bar and grill near my house called The Chatterbox Pub. One side of the restaurant is a lounge area with sofas and coffee tables where you can relax, enjoy a drink and play the vintage board games they have on hand. The whole place is decorated with vintage artifacts and I think these pillows would fit right in.

Hence, this new pattern is dubbed Chatterbox. Besides pillows, this pattern would look great on placemats, kitchen towels and bedding.

(All products shown are mock-ups. Chatterbox is available for licensing in all categories.)


In Love with Black and White

What is it about black and white? How is it that something so basic, so lacking in color can also look fresh, sophisticated and new? It’s a mystery to me. But when you consider the boldness of a Keith Haring design at one end of the spectrum and the amazing subtleties of an Ansel Adams photo on the other it seems like the potential for black and white is endless.

(All products shown are mock-ups. This art is available for licensing in all categories.)