London Art Spot: Christina Workman

You can spot a Christina Ruth bra by its fabulous signature bow. They’re made from satin and silk, printed and sewn by hand in her London studio, with matching knickers, by business owner and lingerie designer Christina Workman. Taking some inspiration from London’s beautiful gardens, her latest line is a floral collection called Wall-flowers. She also adores polka-dots. You can find her work in Kingley Court’s Sugarlesque, second floor. Just don’t mention the word “undies”.

For this week’s London Art Spot – the first since January – Christina talks to us about her life-long obsession with lingerie, what her university studies taught her that helped her start her own business and what she says to curious little children who want to play with the nipple tassels.

LLO: Which aspects of London life inspire your designs and creativity and which other London-based designers do you admire? 
CW: I always take photos in the Regents Park rose garden when starting a print; the colours are always so beautiful. There are so many amazing art galleries and museums in London that I get inspiration from, but the Serpentine gallery and the V&A are particularly great and never disappoint.

LLO: Give us a quick introduction/overview of your company, Christina Ruth
CW: Christina Ruth is a luxury lingerie label, selling unique hand printed and handmade designs.


LLO: Educate us. What is the step-by-step process of how a Christina Ruth bra becomes a Christina Ruth bra?
CW: Firstly I design the print to put on the fabric, which normally consists of a research phase followed by lots of drawing and finally lots of hair pulling as I try to make it a repeatable image. I then have to separate the drawing into layers based on how many colours I want the finished print to have. At this stage I go to my print studio (London Screen Service in Bermondsey) and put each layer on a different screen. I’m then ready to start printing the fabric – a full colour print works best on silk. After printing all the layers I then steam the fabric to fix the dye, then wash and dry. Next, I need to design the pattern of the actual bra – let’s just say this is tricky! Not only does it have to look nice but the sizing needs to be spot on.  Finally I cut my fabric and hand sew the bra, in my home studio.

Finished print.

LLO: Self-taught or formally-trained? Tell us more.
CW: I studied Textiles at Goldsmiths where I fell in love with printing. This was a Fine Art based course so we were not taught fashion design; that part of my work is completely self taught and comes from a lifelong obsession with lingerie. Goldsmiths is also where I learned to work from a self motivated brief (we were never ‘set’ work) which is important when launching your own label.

LLO: What makes Christina Ruth lingerie special? Do you have a trademark?
CW: Creating colourful printed lingerie on fine delicate fabrics really makes Christina Ruth special. Every piece is made by hand and therefore unique; this is not something you can get on the high street. At the same time I want people to be able to afford my lingerie, so try to give a reasonable price range for the amount of time/work that goes into the making. Every piece is finished with my signature big bow.

LLO: Please help me solve an on-going debate… what are your thoughts on the following terms and which do you prefer?
CW: Lingerie, knickers, pants…in that order!!
Underwear: Practical, unisex.
Knickers: Fun, normally of the un-skimpy variety, my favorite.
Undies: No comment!
Unders: I haven’t heard this word used before.
Panties: American – has to be used if you want to expand outside of the UK.

LLO:  Are you willing to do custom orders (ie – sizes or prints or colours, etc)?
CW: Yes I’m more than happy to do custom sizes; that’s one of the benefits of hand making everything. However, prints and colours have to come from me, I need to feel passionate about what I’m making and I can’t do that using someone else’s ideas.

LLO: What are your size ranges?
CW: Knickers: XS – XL, Bras: S – M (this will be expanding soon).

LLO: Back in October, you tweeted about a 70+ year old man who asked about crotch-less designs for his wife. Good for them. Any other amusing stories to share?
CW: No! Except for the multitude of little children who pick up the nipple tassels and ask their parents what there for – cue lots of embarrassed faces. Telling them they’re ‘a pretty brooch for adults’ seems to do the trick!

LLO: What are you working on now?
CW: I’m right in the middle of developing some pretty lace camisoles to go in my Wall-flower collection as well expanding my bra size range. I’m also in the drawing stages of a new print.

LLO: Where can we find your lingerie?
CW: You can buy online at which links to my Etsy shop. I also sell on and ASOS marketplace. If you want to see the real thing, you can find Christina Ruth in Sugarlesque lingerie boutique: 2nd floor Kingley Court, Carnaby Street. Or come and find me every Sunday until Christmas at Greenwich Market.

Thanks Christina!

You can also find Christina on Facebook

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

If you want to recommend someone for a London Art Spot interview, get in touch!

Listen to a Londoner: Professor Femi Osofisan

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere.
If you want to be interviewed, email


This interview was conducted by Efemena Agadama for Little London Observationist. Efemena is a poet and playwright, originally from Nigeria, who is working on his first novel. He normally contributes articles to his Amnesty International blog.


Professor Femi Osofisan

Oh! See how the stage drums are welcoming Professor Femi Osofisan.  He is a renowned playwright, poet and novelist with the pen name “Okinba Launko,” who has won the Folon-Nichols Award, ANA prize(s) for literature and poetry, regional Commonwealth poetry award, City of Pennsylvania Bell Award for Artistic Performance and several other awards and appointments spanning several continents.  He has published over 50 literary works, and has also been part of the revered literary story of London.

LLO: What interests you most in or about London?
I am generally excited about big cities, about the environment they offer for creativity, experimentation, and adventure—as well as for their opposite, death, destruction and atrophy. You are constantly challenged, as an artist in a big city, by this threat of death and/or rejuvenation. London to me is like that.

LLO: You have published over fifty respected plays.  How does your inspiration come?
From politics, that is, from history as daily experienced. The aim is to make the present and the future better for all of us.

LLO: Tell us some of the countries where you have performed your plays.
The UK, Germany, the USA, Sri Lanka, Australia, Canada, plus different African countries.

Taken while Professor Osofisan was directing JP Clark’s OZIDI at the Arts Theatre at the University of Ibadan.

LLO: Over the years, Nigerian and African writers have identified with London.  Do you find London as an interesting environment for Nigerian and African writers?
It should be, given the large population of African and African Caribbean people in London. The city also has a long history of creative activism in the arts.

LLO: Do you find that literature from a different culture, such as English or Greek, tends to influence the themes and styles in the work of African writers?
FO: Yes of course, just as the reverse is also true. The best works anywhere always transcend their geographical and temporal frontiers, to speak to humanity all over the world and in all ages. Artists drink from all sources. That is how all cultures thrive, from the cross-pollination with other cultures.

LLO: What advantages can theatre professionals derive by performing their plays and organizing literary activities in London? 
FO: The usual advantages: well-mounted productions with skilled directors and actors; a good publicity; plus a fairly good pay.

LLO: Which London library interests you most?
FO: I have been using the same library for years—and this is the SOAS library, by Russell Square. Its collections on my area of interest are simply breath-taking!

LLO: What is your advice to inspire the new voices in African literature living in London to succeed as writers?
The same as I give to all aspiring writers everywhere, whether African or not—namely, that the best way to write is by writing, and reading. Read as much as you can; and never stop writing.

LLO: Do you have upcoming events being planned for London to keep our readers timely informed?
Not in the immediate coming months, I am afraid. But I shall probably be delivering this year’s Pinter Lectures at Goldsmiths in October. 

LLO: And kindly tell us how to purchase your literary works (poems, plays and novels).
Most of them are published and sold in Nigeria, and can be purchased from The Booksellers bookstore run by Mosuro in Ibadan. They have a website, I believe. But in the UK, the best contact for my works is the African Books Collective, in Oxford.

Thanks Professor Osofisan and Efemena!

If you are interested in reading more about Professor Osofisan, visit his website:

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.

London Art Spot: Julie Bennett

After Julie Bennett conquered the industry of graphic design in high-end music magazines like NME, she found a new niche in painting where she could get her hands dirty. A few years ago, when she exhibited her work in the Saatchi Online Gallery, The Independent labelled her one of “Saatchi’s new stars”. Her unique style has also gained her attention from The Evening Standard, The Sunday Times and Artists and Illustrators Magazine. She’s exhibited her paintings all around London from the Sassoon Gallery to the Sartorial Gallery.

Catch her latest work in the “Girls at Gold” show at The Gallery, Goldsmiths Student Union which features eight female artists – four from Camberwell, where Julie is currently studying, and four from Goldsmiths. The show opens on Monday 23 November and runs until 11 December. More info here. Julie’s website is

A native Londoner, Julie gives us a bit of insight into how the city influences her work, talks about her failed attempt at becoming a rock star and her infatuation with Boy George.


LLO: How has living in London influenced your painting?
JB: I was born in London so London is obviously a massive part of my life. Even though I’ve travelled around, London is still my favourite place. I absolutely love the diversity of people. It’s great for portraits. I’m always so inspired by walking the street and people watching on the tube. I want to take photos of people sometimes, but obviously I can’t.

Girl with Feather Earring

LLO: Your background is in graphic design for some big magazines like NME and Q. What made you turn to painting, and do you find your design experience inspires your current work?
JB: I achieved all my dreams in graphic design – to work in music, at NME and Q. I worked at nearly every music magazine London holds – Kerrang!, Classic Rock. I even worked for a bit on the UK launch of Rolling Stone magazine. I needed a new dream, so I decided to become a rock star. I enrolled on a guitar course at Goldsmiths for two years, but I was really, really bad and had no talent to write my own music. So I decided to try painting. I enrolled on a painting course at Slade. It was brilliant, exactly what I needed. I was excited to use paint and get messy. You don’t get messy with graphic design. My graphics experience comes into painting in that I’m so interested in magazines and popular culture.

Come Back to Camden

LLO: Many of the characters you paint have an androgynous look about them and your signature style is also quite layered with a dripping effect slightly distorting the faces. Can you tell us a bit about your style?
It’s a celebration of paint. I allow the paint to be free. Representation isn’t really important to me. It’s more about the materials. Allowing paint to drip shows it’s still paint. Sometimes it still looks wet. Graphics is so flat, shiny and perfect. My painting is about the material, about the paint. The androgynous look is not something I go about doing on purpose. It just comes out because I’m pretty open and interested in androgynous people. I grew up a massive fan of Boy George and K. D. Lang.

Izzy After Camden

LLO: What do you think is the role of painting today and where does your work fit in?
Painting is a form of entertainment. Its role is really to give us something beautiful to look at and I hope my work does that.


 Thanks Julie!