From Abstraction to Tactile Expressions: Images of my Emotions.

Magdalena Rutkowska.

“Always painting, always working” was probably the first few words she said to me during our conversation. Magdalena Rutkowska runs Ike Studio from her home in Northern Ireland. Ike is a name taken from the Hawaiian Huna philosophy, whose first principle is Ike (pronounced ee-kay), meaning “The world is what you think it is”.

 Sunny Butterfly

Sunny Butterfly.
Quilling on Canvas  50 cm x 40 cm

Viewing Magdalena’s artworks, you notice a plethora of works including paintings, crafts, home decor, Office decor and greetings cards. These works have an influence directly from nature, and visually expressed in various designs ranging from national flags all the way to various decorative patterns and abstractions. Interestingly, because of the way Magdalena perceives and executes some of the designs, she sometimes wonders if the images she creates even exists in nature.

Her greatest inspiration is nature, and that greatly influences her use of vibrant and expressive colour ranges. The depictions she works in reveals her dexterity for detail; detail which is even more astonishing when you realize that Magdalena has been totally blind from the age of 6 years. She has no retina in her eyes and though having no sight presents several immense challenges in her life, she is determined to live a life as full and as rich as is possible, exploring her other senses, especially the sense of touch and hearing, to give her this ability.

These are images of my emotions.” – Magdalena Rutkowska


Tree of the Paleozoic 
White paper on black card
18 cm x 30 cm

MaMoMi: How would you describe your emotions in your artworks?

Magdalena Rutkowska: It is a bit difficult to explain how my emotions can be seen as artworks but they are a visual and tactile expression of some of the feelings i experience daily. I perceive a lot of images of flowers and trees and of other nature influences.

Back in Poland where i am originally from, i lived around beautiful forests and this early experience still continues to inspire my love for nature. This influence causes me to see various projects in my sleep, long before i get the opportunity to do anything with them. I often wake up wanting to create so many of these images and my memory and Imagination, combined with my manual skills, allows me to create various types of arts and crafts. I use my visual memory of colours, shades and shapes to put together the different ideas. For me, every letter of the word has a colour code.

I know my paintings also help a lot of people externalize and overcome their problems.” – Magdalena Rutkowska


20 cm x 25 c m

MaMoMi: How do you relate a colour code to a word or shape?

M.R.: One of the projects i did some time ago was done making small pictures with four paintings of flowers, and the client then came back wanting even bigger paintings. I had to find a way to replicate that idea onto a bigger canvas space.

Every colour i intended to use in that colour palette was placed in a box. I needed to remember where each colour was and to do this, i placed each of them in particular boxes and code every box. I now have at least 20 boxes. I place bright yellow in one box, darker yellow in the next one, warmer colour in the following one, and the next one had fuchsia, and so on.

It is important to me that i remember which colours i have used, and in what order, as this helps me have control of the colour scheme or any pattern i am creating. But this also means i have to keep and maintain a huge level of concentration throughout.

MaMoMi: What is your most used technique?

M.R.: It usually take a lot of time to put together and make my artworks. My most popular technique is the Quilling paper method. By building the outlines of paper, i devise various ways of filling to form the shapes required. This helps me create decorative and 3-Dimensional designs, many of which are popular for Home and Office decor.

I use strips of paper that are rolled, shaped and glued together, and reproduce the needed shapes by twisting and curling the paper strips with my fingers. They are then bonded on the canvas or background cardboard. I have sixteen different categories listed on my website.

Creating these artworks and crafts is also a way of showing people that blind artists can also be very creative, with very attractive and highly desirable items. But it is also my way of engaging with the sighted community and it will be great and appreciative if people can enjoy my creative talents as much as i do. I love nature and in return nature has given me a positive approach to life.


To commission or purchase her artworks, contact Magdalena via email at

Note: This blog was originally published in March 20 2014.

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