I have always been an artist. Art has made me feel better during struggles in my life and has been a way for me to document and record places, feelings and important events. I taught art to children in public school and private settings for over ten years before I decided to focus on my passion, which is inspiring artists through high-quality, handmade art supplies.
My name is Kate Chawula and I am the maker behind Ruby Mountain Paint Company. I am an artist and teacher, as well as a mama of two little ones. I have been making watercolors and selling my handmade paint sets since I opened my shop on Etsy in January of 2017. In the fall of 2016, Ruby Mountain Paint Co. began out of a love of color, nature, and my desire to get back to plein air painting. The summer before I had my daughter, I had just started plein air painting using oils. After having my daughter, I didn't paint for years. It was just too difficult to have that kind of time and energy. Once I saw some tiny art sets online, I was hooked. Because the handmade watercolor makers were always sold out, I decided to start making my own.
I immediately fell in love with the process and the materials. I loved learning about the beginnings of paint making and the role of the colorman, who in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, before the invention of modern commercial art supplies, used to supply artists with paint and pigment. These colormen later became the modern companies you may know today, like Windsor & Newton. I love being able to work directly with artists to create colors and individual palettes suited to their particular desires and needs. I believe one of the most beautiful things about art is the connection it fosters. I love creating a brand that fosters connection and inspiration though handmade art supplies. At Ruby Mountain Paint Co. my focus is mostly on natural pigments. I love rocks, gems and the landscape. That’s why the palettes I create are often seasonal, and use natural mineral colors. All of Ruby Mountain paints are free of cadmium, cobalt and lead, toxic metals that I prefer not to have in my palette and in my home. The process to make handmade paint begins with raw materials. The binder recipe I use is unique to Ruby Mountain and was created after much trial and error. I create the binder from gum arabic, local honey, vegetable glycerine and clove essential oil which acts as a natural preservative. This binder is mixed with powdered pigments sourced from locations around the world, then mulled on a glass slab for anywhere from 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the pigment. Each pigment has its own personality and takes a varying amount of binder and time to produce the consistency required for painting. The paints are poured in layers into a variety of pans and containers. They re allowed to slowly dry, ensuring each pan is packed as full pas possible. I do not use any fillers, brighteners, extenders or additives like ox gall. This allows the highly pigmented paints to show their true individuality and unique characteristics.
Ruby Mountain Paint Co. creates unique sets of paints to inspire you to create more. I love to curate new, seasonal color palettes and many of the sets I sell are one-of-a-kind. I love working with artists to create the palette of their dreams. If you have a palette idea or need a specific color for your work, please contact me. I am happy to create something just for you. Inspiring artists is truly my passion, whether it is the little artists I used to work with when I taught or adult artists inspired by my mindfully curated sets of handmade watercolors. I love fostering a sense of connection through art. Creating handmade art supplies is my way of bringing more beauty, love and light into this world. Please let me know in the comments below what you love about Ruby Mountain Paints, or what you look for in handmade art supplies. I’d love to hear from you!