Monday, July 23, 2012

Craft Cafe: Ruth Singer

I am SO EXCITED to offer my next (rampantly overdue) Craft Cafe interviewee today. Ruth Singer grabbed my attention when I first saw her, years ago, at a Christmas craft fair at Shoreditch Town Hall. Since then, I have been able to use my limited connections to programme her workshops at the Barbican and (let’s be honest) STALK her fabulous self around craftland. I was even able to give my poor husband a ‘present’ (ahem) of my wedding dress fabric in three panels, commissioned from Ruth and photographed here. Following on from her competition-winning entry in Leicester for a pop-up craft workshop space, Ruth Singer Studio is now up and running on a longterm basis, offering all-level tuition and creative fabulouness for lucky Leicesterians out there. So, without further ado, and do try not to drool or grab any pretty gorgeous objet’s…

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What inspires you?

My main inspiration always has been and probably always will be historic textiles. There isn't much I find more exciting than museums - fashion, textile, decorative arts, social history… I love them all, but my first true love is costume. More recently, my inspiration comes from other sources but is always combined with textiles and history; I work with memory, stories, personal lives and material culture when working on my more personal or conceptual pieces.

imageWhat would be your dream commission?

Probably a commission from a museum to make a piece related to their historical collections. I love private commissions too, but to have pieces in museum collections would make me really happy.

 Whose work do you admire and why?

Mostly I am huge fans of friends of mine because I know how hard they work and what their work really is about. My friend Amy Twigger Holroyd is a huge inspiration, as is Jennifer Collier - and pretty much anything she displays in her brilliant gallery Unit Twelve in Staffordshire. I also really love jewellers Clare Hillerby & Nora Fok. I adore Rob Ryan and am in the middle of stitching his collaborative needlework design by Emily Peacock. It is huge & will probably take years!

You work with many different materials including varied fabrics, ribbons, leathers... What's your favourite?

image Vintage fabric is always my favourite - I love pre-war fabrics best of all, particularly prints but I don't use them in my work so much. For making, I like cotton - usually organic such as Cloud9 or Liberty Lawn. I use recycled wool felt a lot, that is probably high up on my favourites.  Silk is wonderful stuff and amazing to use, but the slipperiness is a pain! I do love antique silk ribbons a lot too.

You do a lot of teaching and workshop leading. Do you find that to be a creative process too, or a commercial necessity or a bit of both?

I love teaching! I suppose I wouldn't do so much if I could sell endless quantities of my work, but realistically, all full-time makers have another income of one sort or another. I do miss teaching if I don't do it, I am a sociable person and love sharing. I get a great kick out of inspiring people - whether they be adults with a love of textile, or kids who just love doing anything hands-on. I wouldn't want to give it up.

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What's on your workbench right now?

I'm working on a new fabric manipulation book so there are samples all over the place. I am also working on a huge quilt for myself and there's a dress I started last November which needs finishing!

imageWhat do you listen to in the studio?

Radio 4. Constantly.

Are you a 'Pretty Organised' or 'Creatively Chaotic' artist?

Chaotic artist but organised studio manager, events organiser and administrator.

 What are your plans/hopes/dreams for 2012? What's next after Ruth Singer Studio?

My permanent studio space opens at the end of 2012 so that will be the start of new exciting ventures - I am planning to expand the workshop programme to cater for kids, mums, professional designer-makers and much more. Also my new book comes out in May 2013 so I am planning a solo exhibition to tie in with it. Plenty to keep me busy!

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Thanks so much, Ruth. Keep up to date with Ruth’s work here and make sure to read her books, Sew It Up and Sew Eco.

1 comment:

amit said...

Nice Photos and Blogs I Like It

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