Ferragosto /fer.raˈgo.sto/ The Italian Interlude.
It is not something we did consciously in the beginning, but now we have started making more of a habit of it. In late spring as the warmer, longer days stimulate fresh ideas, we tend to focus inwards for a while and immerse ourselves in our design work in anticipation of the Italian Ferragosto when our artisans typically take a well-deserved pause from crafting and a chance to recharge both physically and creatively.
Italians breathe a collective sigh of relief in August to embrace the more leisurely summer pace of Ferragosto. Streets become quieter and locals head out of the cities on vacations or simply take advantage of the slower, gentler rhythm. The noticeable slowdown is a time for relaxation, enjoyment, and a chance to recharge before the bustle of autumn returns and RUSKIN bags undergo production once again. Time spent with family and friends, to savour conversation, share good food and bask in the leisurely cadence of warmer summer days and evenings. The closure of some businesses during this time also fosters a sense of unity within the artisan community, as they steadfastly hold on to this cherished tradition, a valuable vestige of a bygone era.
The annual August interlude has guided our design and production schedule over the years encouraging our early ideation, research, sampling, testing and ordering of materials in the spring. For us, working with the rhythm of artisanal production and incorporating this temporary pause not only honours the skill and dedication that goes into creating unique and handcrafted pieces but it also values a quality of life that we aspire to.
August typically sees us switching our Oxford studio opening hours to become private appointments. This gives us the opportunity to get together, shift our focus and reflect on where we are, and what’s to come next. The thing about a regular, scheduled mid-year pause in production is that there is no other choice, but to slow down. This stimulates thinking in new ways and helps us to stay laser focussed on pursuing thoughtful design practices that naturally orientate towards real needs rather than transient market-driven needs trends.
Admittedly, we haven’t had a lot of warm sunny evenings here in Oxford this summer, but since August is on the horizon we will continue to set the fire pit ablaze in the evenings, dine al fresco (with warm blankets in the mix) and try to conjure up the spirit of Ferragosto, while basking in a little dolce far niente ("the sweetness of doing nothing").
Rest assured, our website remains open throughout August, for you to peruse and purchase RUSKIN designs at your leisure.