Ruth Duffy

My work focuses on storytelling through mixed media. These stories often reflect my Irish heritage particularly the Inishowen peninsula in north west Ireland where I spent my early years. The mountains, seascapes and buildings are portrayed in my creations. Now living in England, I am also inspired by places I visit. I am currently working on some ideas linked to the silk making town of Leek in Staffordshire. I enjoy printmaking, these prints appear in my work alongside dyed fabrics and specifically selected papers. These elements are pieced together using both machine and hand stitching. The stitching brings detail and in doing so embellishes and enhances the work. I particularly enjoy hand stitch as it is slow, allows me to think, reflect and connect to the piece. This thinking time brings more ideas on how to further develop the work or create something new. I want others to look and see how the piece has been constructed, the story it tells and how it may resonate with their own life story. 

A family friend Wallace Clarke commissioned the MacDonald boatyard in the Inishowen town of Moville to build a 40 foot wooden galley. This wonderfully crafted boat inspired my papier-mâché model. I have used local newspapers in her construction and created a square sail made from torn and pieced rusted cloth. She sits proudly on driftwood washed up on the local shore. These pockets will hold my collected objects in places where I hope they will be found. 

Inishowen Book
I love to create books; this one showcases one of my favourite places – Inishowen in County Donegal, Ireland. I have made each page unique, some are pictures and some symbols. I use print and stitch on carefully chosen fabrics which I have dyed or sourced from Donegal.

My Little Indigo Book
This book was created by immersing a sketch book, fabrics, threads and papers into an Indigo dye vat. The fabrics were pieced together to form a strip which was backed onto paper. Embroidery and found objects have been used to further embellish it creating a unique piece of art.