Mon Repos turtles inspire Ruby to create wearable art

Ruby's turtle design wearable art worn by one of her teachers
Ruby's turtle design worn by one of her teachers.

A trip to Mon Repos has led to a business opportunity for Brisbane teenager Ruby Herrenberg.

The 18-year-old, diagnosed with Down Syndrome, sells custom designed shirts and tote bags through her Facebook page Ruby’s Wearable Art.

Inspiration for her latest design came from a visit to Bundaberg’s turtle centre in January, which was a treat for her birthday.

Ruby designing the turtle
Ruby designing the turtle

Her mother Nicole Tracey said Ruby had been passionate about drawing for a number of years.

As Ruby nears the end of her schooling Nicole encouraged her to turn her talent in to a career.

“I was sort of thinking ‘what would she love?’,” Nicole said.

“She does the drawings and we go to the printer. She’s involved and she understands.”

Ruby includes handwritten notes with each delivery and asks to see a photo of the recipient with their new shirt or bag.

“She gets a kick out of that.”

Turtle design could be stocked at visitor centre

Ruby was inspired by a recent visit to Mon Repos
Ruby was inspired by a recent visit to Mon Repos.

Ruby’s latest design features a Mon Repos-inspired turtle and the words ‘I love turtles – Ruby’.

“We saw 156 little fellas run down to the water’s edge, it was an amazing experience.

“She started drawing turtles based on a photo we took in the display area.

“She said she would have to use her special pencils.”

Ruby said her favourite part of the trip was seeing the big turtle and she enjoyed drawing it.

“I love it,” Ruby said.

The turtle design has received positive feedback, including from volunteers at the Mon Repos turtle centre.

Ruby ordered an 'I like turtles' shirt after her visit to Bundaberg
Ruby ordered an ‘I like turtles' shirt after her visit to Bundaberg.

While nothing is yet confirmed, Nicole said the centre was possibly looking to stock the shirts and bags in future.

Nicole said the recent trip was the family’s first time in Bundaberg but it wouldn’t be the last.

“I’ve been telling people left, right and centre that they’ve got to go.

“It was genuinely amazing.”