Biography

1zbcthk.jpgRuth Gibson | Background

I have been self-employed as an artist for over 25 years. Having run a successful designer/maker hand made gift business for 15 years, I went back to study at the age of 35. I graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Ceramics and Sculpture in 2003. 


I have taught back at the University of Wolverhampton on the Applied Arts degree covering Professional Practice and Creative Industry modules with final year degree students.


Over the last 12 years I have been involved in Public Art, Sculpture, Project Management, working with bricks and ceramics, and have been an Arts Council funded artist. I have been involved in a wide variety of projects as joint lead artist and project manager of Benchart, a public art company based in Shrewsbury. 


Ruth Gibson | Medium


I use ceramic screen printing techniques to apply photographic images onto slabs of porcelain. I am inspired by the natural landscape, my love of walking in the Shropshire Hills, or collecting shells and pebbles on the Welsh coast.


My photographs include architectural imagery, details from the natural environment, shadows, birds in flight. The selected images are printed on acetate before being fixed onto a silk screen using photosensitive emulsion.


Porcelain is rolled out into thin sheets, handling it carefully at this stage, as clay has a 'memory' and will try to return to any crease or bend put into it. Allowing the surface to dry a little before screen printing and yet keeping the main body of the clay wet enough to still form into bowl shapes, is a process that develops with experience.       


I find the printing process an exciting way of working; once printed, the clay can be stretched and formed over moulds, often not disturbing the quality and structure of the image. Alternatively the print can be manipulated and distorted, cropped or enhanced; small sections can be removed or added to create interesting abstract patterns on a ceramic surface. The possibilities from one or two strong images in terms of form and the printed surface are endless.



Benchart

Benchart was established in 2005, receiving funding from Shrewsbury and Atcham Council, Shropshire Council and Arts Council England. The work has predominantly involved the creation of outdoor public sculptures, designing and making benches, shelters and sculptures from carved brick often inlaid with ceramic tiles and reclaimed materials. These projects have always involved the community who are engaged through workshops to make ceramic elements which are incorporated into the public artworks. We have  strong links with the brick industry and have been supported by Ibstock Bricks and Blockleys in Telford.


Benchart also design and create cob Earth Ovens. This involves recycling the waste brick clay from carving sculptures, mixed with sand and soil, sawdust and straw, to create cob, a natural and traditional building material. The beautiful pizza ovens are created in situ and are unique sculptures, as well as being functional ovens. We can build these to commission or work with a community group to create a shared experience and central focus to an outdoor eating space.