Ruth Lazerson is a textile designer, artist and art historian living in Sydney, Australia. She designs beautiful custom rugs and scarves and her goal is to constantly push the boundaries of art and design while maintaining a strong ethical commitment. She works with GoodWeave to help stop child labour in Nepal and India and is passionate about giving these children the education they deserve, and the ability to live at home with their family.
With the world in lock down, including Nepal and India, the demand to create rugs slowed down. This is when Ruth decided to spend her time creating and donating small resin hearts to front-line workers and others in need of kindness, beauty and reassurance
The response to her Hearts of Hope was huge and Ruth has now given away close to two thousand hearts to paramedics, nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, cleaners, post office workers, supermarket workers and those going through a hard time. These hearts are a small but loving gesture, which reminds people that they are cared and thought about.
Charities have since been purchasing the hearts to use for fundraisers, and nurses are purchasing them to give out to their departments. There have even been individuals purchasing the hearts to hand out at shopping centres to anybody who looks like they need a bit of cheering up. Ruth is now selling her Hearts of Hope for $5 each so she can continue to create and donate them to those in need.
Ruth was kind enough to chat to us about her Hearts of Hope project, as well as how she’s been going throughout lock down.
Why resin hearts?
I’ve been wanting to work with resin for a while so this was the perfect opportunity! It took me a while to get them right and to understand how resin worked but now that I have, I absolutely love it. With the chaos we were living in and so many people doing it so tough, I felt the heart was such a powerful symbol to spread love, hope and kindness.. The two were a perfect match!
What is your favourite part of the making process?
Definitely creating the patterns in the hearts with ink. Once I’ve poured the resin into the moulds, I drop ink colours into the resin and this forms the patterns and colour combinations. It’s quite mindful and extremely addictive!
What has been the most heartwarming story you have heard so far?
There have been so many heartwarming stories. Probably the most heartwarming was the work I did with a group called #viralkindness on the Northern Beaches. They wanted to give 100 pairs of hearts to the employees at Newmarch House. Their motivation in wanting a pair of hearts rather than one heart was to give each employee two similar hearts – one heart for the employee who couldn’t see or be with their family (due to the crisis at the aged care facility) and one for a family member who was desperately missing them. That way each could have a heart and stay connected to each other. It’s such a beautiful concept.
How have you been staying motivated and productive during this time?
It’s easy to stay motivated and productive when you love what you do! My creative business was in “hibernation” so making the hearts meant I could stay creative and busy and give back to those who didn’t have the luxury of staying home like me. I was also motivated because people were just so thrilled to receive the hearts and it was so rewarding to donate them, so I just wanted to keep making more.
How do you cope with uncertainty?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really learned to trust the process and go with the flow and allow things to just unfold as they are meant to. It’s not always easy and it’s taken a while to learn it, but I’m a firm believer that things are the way they are meant to be and there are opportunities to be found in every situation, no matter how dire and how awful they are. Sometimes we only see them much later, but as long as we know they are there.
What have you learnt during these confusing and difficult times?
I’ve learnt so much over the last few months. Mostly, I think I’ve learnt to be grateful for what I have. Despite both my husband and I losing our incomes and the intense fear we both felt because of it, there are so many who are so much worse off than we are. I work a lot with communities in India and Nepal and it was devastating to see what they were going through. My sister in law lives in New York and works as a tele counsellor and it broke my heart to talk to her and hear what they were going through.
What would you like to inspire in others?
I would like to inspire others to remind themselves of what they are grateful for every single day. It’s extremely uplifting and positive.
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for the health of my children, myself, my family and friends. I’m grateful that I still have both my elderly parents and can see them every day. I’m grateful to be living in such a great country. I’m grateful that my two teenage children still talk to me. I’m grateful that I get to do what I love every day in my work and give back to people who desperately need it. I could go on and on!
What are you excited for post COVID-19?
I’m really looking forward to going to Nepal to see my wonderful weaving community. I was supposed to go in April with my thirteen year old daughter for the opening of our little school. I’m going to be supplying all the art materials and doing some workshops for the kids and adults as well so that’s something I’m super excited about.
To find out more or to purchase, Hearts of Hope for $5 each, check out
Renata is a colour-loving, op-shop-going, beach-frolicking writer and designer. She's passionate about supporting local businesses and highlighting local and hand-made brands. She also loves reading YA, napping in the winter sun, and re-watching Gilmore Girls one too many times... find her on Instagram @totesweird