Ruth explores form, texture and surface with her thrown and coil-built clay vessels. Echoing shapes from the past, the work draws on prehistoric ceramics, particularly the forms of Moravian painted-ware.
Ruth pursues the vessel as pure form, unleashing the foot, neck, lip and belly from their purely functional constraints. Her use of smooth white porcelain and heavily textured black clay creates a contrasting tone and texture. Surfaces are raw, glazed or marked by smoke-firing – the process of trapping carbon to create distinct tonal effects and qualities.
Captivated by seeing Lucie Rie's 17th Century Korean Moon Jar in the British Museum, Ruth began working with large spherical forms. Her Moon Jars, unlike the traditional Korean thrown pieces, are coil-built with layers of pressed, grogged clay and smoke-fired to create the lunar-like surface. They also feature a raised foot which creates the illusion of weightlessness, lifting the spherical form. Floating Bowls have the same feature.
For Ruth, the action of throwing is the meditative repetition of a fluid process. The most successful finished works retain that essence of movement and growth in their final form. Subtle throwing lines spiral up to the rim from the centre, evoking life in its circularity and the cyclical nature of time. The Spiral Bowls accentuate this further with the addition of brushed-on white slip.
Subtle refinements made throughout the making and finishing process affect the whole attitude of the resulting forms: lively, subdued, hopeful or dignified.
Ruth has been exhibiting nationally and teaching ceramics since 1990. She lives and works in rural South West Scotland.