A young Malibu artist is taking inspiration from her friendships with children in India and Malibu to launch a new business she hopes will inspire others. Genevieve Ruddock is currently in Vrindavan, India, for a month-long visit to see children she first met in 2014. She met them when she travelled to the small tourist town near India’s capital, New Delhi, after graduating from Pepperdine University with a degree in Art.
It was there on the banks of the Yamuna River that she first encountered a group of children who sell flowers and incense as worship items. “They are small bowls of fresh-cut flowers with a little cotton ball soaked in oil,” Ruddock told The Malibu Times. “The idea is you light it and send it down the river as an offering of prayer. I felt uncomfortable buying from the children because I didn’t want to single one child out, so I made a distraction by drawing portraits of them.”
As she drew their faces, a friendship developed. The loosely knit group of children — many who cannot afford to go to school regularly — played games with her and helped teach her the local language, Hindi. She took them on boat rides and threw them a small surprise party, all funded by the 24-year-old during a six-month stay.
When it became winter, Ruddock started crocheting hats for the children. Her passion for helping the youngsters inspired her to create an alternative fashion and art company, Lavender Jaq — named after her late grandmother, Jacqueline, whose favorite color was lavender and who was also a painter. The first product will be hats similar to the ones she crocheted for the children.
Upon her return to Malibu, Ruddock started working with the Once Upon A Time Children’s Theater program. The cast members involved in this spring’s production of “The Wiz” conducted a clothing drive for the kids in Vrindavan. The project was sponsored by Malibu’s Eco Hero Kids Foundation, run by local Julia Holland, co-director of the musical.