We had the good fortune of connecting with Raina & Ruben and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Raina & Ruben, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
Our creative process, business and life are one in the same. All aspects are led by an inner impulse, bringing deep meaning and fulfillment. When something begins to feel out of alignment or like we’re mindlessly going through the motions, we pause for a check-in and redirect our energies as needed. What no longer holds meaning falls away as we carve out a path that continues to light us up.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
We are Raina & Ruben. We met as deckhands on a tall ship bound for Antarctica, returned to Canadian soil after our high sea adventure and began weaving together a life and family in the backwoods of Nova Scotia. In 2014, we started our collaborative business R&R Handmade. We currently offer a unique line of hand forged homeware for conscious everyday living. These heirloom pieces are designed by Raina and forged in fire by Ruben. Our intention through R&R Handmade is to passionately contribute to a new economy – one that celebrates creative expression, hand skills, quality and regeneration of the earth. We aim to create useful and beautiful pieces to enliven your day-to-day flow.
Raina is an interdisciplinary artist and designer. She draws inspiration from her experiences as a mother, yoga teacher, organic food grower and seed saver. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) and is a permaculture designer. She’s excited by the regenerative spaces where tending to land, food growing, artist expression and community building intersect.
Ruben Irons is an artist blacksmith whose ironwork embraces an extensive functional craft tradition as well as sculptural expression. He has been evolving his craft for over 20 years, working alongside master smiths throughout North America.
For the last 15 years, with a passion for creating beautiful and functional ironwork for public and private spaces, he has completed commissions and custom work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m not sure if this question applies to us, given that we are not located in LA. We live in rural Nova Scotia, Canada.
We would invite them to join us on our daily morning walk to the hemlock grove in the forest behind our home, shop & studio. We’d then circle down to the cabin on the brook, taking in the flowing fresh water and the life-giving ecosystem of the forest. We’d take them to the beautiful beaches along the Northumberland Shore and then to Earltown General Store (Earltown, NS) for homemade fresh sourdough bread on our way home. We’d share home cooked meals from the garden and visit friends on nearby homesteads and farms. We’d tour Scotsburn Community Food Forest, sit around our bonfire, release and rejuvenate in our homebuilt sauna and take in the night sky of the country.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We’ve been fortunate to be able to make choices that have led us into the creation of life and work that resonates deeply with and reflects who we are. We’re grateful for our supportive community of family and friends, who have lent an ear/been present with hugs as we’ve learned and evolved on our journey off the beaten path. Our biggest shoutout goes to our children: our two daughters model what it is to imagine possibilities into reality and to embody life fully and vibrantly lived. Books that have stoked our creative fire with inspiration include A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity (William Coperthwaite), Braiding Sweetgrass (Robin Wall Kimmerer) and Toa Da Chin (Lao Tzu).
Product shots: Raina McDonald Images of Raina and Ruben and shop and process: Christine Whelan