Professional Development Workshop

I’m running a professional development day for artist and makers at Llantarnam Grange Art Centre on Saturday 20th October. 10am-3pm. £20.

Join artist Ruth Singer to explore research-led craft making; about creating original work with a meaningful narrative behind it. Find out about Ruth’s research and development process; explore, develop and test your own ideas and take part in creative planning and group making activities. This workshop will also include ways of working with museums, heritage and archive collections. This session is designed for makers of all levels of practice who want to stretch their creative horizons and develop new ways of working. Ruth works predominantly in textiles but this session is suitable for all makers, whatever material or method you use.

The workshop runs alongside Suffrage exhibition which includes a newly commissioned piece made for this exhibition. The workshop is just £20 for the whole day 10am-3pm and can be booked online here. Please note: We regret that due due to the nature of our building the artists workshops will be taking place in our first floor workshops rooms which do not have disabled access.

 

Tacit exhibition

Tacit – Made in Leicestershire contemporary craft exhibition at LCB Depot 17th-29th September.

My first co-curated contemporary craft exhibition is now open! On Friday I installed Tacit – Made in Leicestershire exhibition at LCB Depot in Leicester. I am working for Creative Leicestershire as a consultant on the Made in Leicestershire brand development and putting together this exhibition and events programme is part of that process. It has been a delight to work with so many brilliant Leicestershire makers and to discover new ones selected by co-curator Jo Keogh. The exhibition is only up for a short time until 29th September with a couple of events next week for makers and for visitors to meet the makers.

Exhibition details here along with studio shots of the makers’ work. Late evening preview event is on Facebook. Leicestershire-based professional artists and makers are invited to a Makers Gathering on Thursday 27th Sept hosted by me for Made in Leicestershire.

This show includes my Tracery hanging and my Interlace collaboration work Halo.

I’ve installed two exhibitions in the space of 10 days so my tool box is well-used and I’m all out of cup hooks and glass cleaner. In my previous career I curated and developed museum exhibitions and have worked on a lot of craft exhibitions too over the years. I really enjoy this kind of work, though having help with the ladders, drilling and lifting from LCB staff was great – I’ve had to go up scaffolding to install things before and it wasn’t my favourite thing. Tacit has been an interesting, if very rushed, project to work on. The exhibition concept was developed by LCB Depot in the summer and they asked me to select makers and sort out installation. Jo Keogh (one of the artists) also found a group of emerging makers with new work I didn’t know about so the exhibition is really varied. I really enjoy mixed material exhibitions more than single material – I love to see my work alongside ceramics, glass and metals rather than just textile. It gives all the work a new perspective.

Thirteen Years

Today marks my 13th anniversary as full-time self-employed! My work has changed so much in that time from the early days making cushions, then wall panels, then finally settling down in 2009-10 to something more like the kind of work I make now. Along the way there have been books, kits, patterns, Ruth Singer Studio, teaching and masses more. It’s been a wonderful time and I have never regretted the leap I made 13 years ago to pursue this adventure, although there have been more than a few diversions and hiccups along the way. Wedding dresses….really? What was I thinking?!

There are a couple of review posts from the last couple of years on my blog which I have enjoyed reading today and even looked at a few (boring) posts from as far back as 2006 when I started blogging!

Here and now in 2018 my work is going incredibly well, it kind of astonishes and amazes me when I step back and consider. I’ve just taken down a major solo exhibition and I have another in just a few weeks. It is wonderful and exhausting in equal measure. And I have a book to continue writing this afternoon, so no more self-indulgence, just carrying on working hard like I have been doing for all those years!

 

Criminal Quilts : Creative Residency

Alongside my research and workshops at Staffordshire Record Office, my Criminal Quilts project also includes a creative residency in the Fashion and Textile Department of Wolverhampton University. I included this in the project so I could work with students and staff to help develop the creative work and have access to their amazing studio facilities. I am in the process of setting up a student brief for students across art and design to make work for exhibitions based around the information and data which is growing from the archive research.  I hope that working alongside a practicing artist on a live project with exhibitions and publications will be a great experience and some exciting and innovative work will be produced.

Personally I am working closely with Senior Lecturer Jan Wrigley and Professor Fiona Hackney on both the practical, creative side and on completely new (for me) outcomes for the project including a symposium at the end of 2018 and academic papers. When I devised the project plan and funding application I intentionally created new ways of sharing the project beyond the usual exhibition and am excited by the possibilities which have developed to share and record the project in so many ways.

I also get the chance to experiment with the equipment and facilities at the University including digital print and tufting, all of which is completely new to me. The screen print workshop has much larger capacity than I am used to as well so I hope that I will be able to make some larger scale work rather than my usual tiny, detailed hand stitched work. I even got to have a go with the embellisher in the machine room on my last visit and hope to use the Cornelly embroidery machine on another session.  I was also charmed to find pages from my books adorning the machine room for student reference!

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Rethink your Mind

I’m pleased to have a new piece of work selected for the ReThinkYourMind Yellow Book project.

My piece Ash Map will be included in the new book for 2017 which will be launched this week after an awards reception at the House of Lords last week, although I was at the Contemporary Craft Festival so wasn’t able to attend the awards.

The theme for entries was ‘I feel better when….’ and for me this is walking in the countryside. The line of the piece follows the route of a walk and is stitched with the seeds of an ash tree (called keys) which I collected. This work and a number of others exploring the natural world and the therapeutic nature of walking were created in late 2015 as I was dealing with a painful relationship break up when walking was essential to calm my mind and focus on things outside of my own head. Walking a lot is nothing new for me, I have always loved walking, but these pieces are the first work I have produced which use this experience of walking as a theme and inspiration to making. I am continuing to develop new work around walking, my experience of the natural world and hope to have an exhibition of new pieces in 2018.

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Contemporary Craft Festival preparations

The Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey, Devon opens in just over a week. I have been flat out making enough stock to make my stand look convincing, as this is the first show I have done with this work. Until a couple of weeks ago I had less than 10 pieces. Now I’ve got…. some… lots…. more. I haven’t counted, but I’ve been really productive. I have also been buying more tools, hunting eBay for beautiful boxes and today, photographing new pieces. I am really, really enjoying making this new collection. It is exciting to be making things which don’t take weeks and weeks like most of my hand stitched quilts and embroideries.

I am now selling some of these pieces on MadebyHand online and they featured an interview with me on a blog post and newsletter last week which has been great promotion. I am also developing some prints based on my tool embroideries and I *hope* I will have these ready for the Craft Festival but if not these will be online in June instead.

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Criminal Quilts 2017

My Criminal Quilts series originally commissioned by Shire Hall Gallery is probably my best known work including the 2016 Fine Art Quilt Masters winner. This winning piece will be exhibited in the Minerva Arts Centre this summer and the patchwork piece will be at Unit Twelve from the end of April.  I’m really excited to be starting a new project taking this work further with Staffordshire Records Office in 2017-18. I’ve just received funding from Arts Council England to develop new work, exhibitions and community partnership projects based around the original archive material relating to Victorian women criminals.

To celebrate (or actually, co-incidentally) I’ve got a free workshop on Sunday 26th March at New Walk Museum in Leicester inspired by this series of work.

Inspired by Ruth’s work and using silhouettes of hands, create your own piece with a personal touch. Explore drawing and creating patterns on paper with your own hand outline and embellish with embroidery, fabric and paper collage.   No previous experience is required.  The workshop is FREE but booking is essential. Call the museum on 0116 225 4900 to book your place.