Mapping Llyn

Working in porcelain, Ruth Gibson combines a love of photography, printmaking and ceramics, to evoke a sense of place; and in this exhibition the work is inspired by the landscape of the Llyn Peninsula.

Imagery includes winter trees, textures in nature, birds in flight, the rocks beneath the surface, and the inclusion of sections on map, rooting the work to the place it is inspired by. Ancient standing stones found scattered across this wild landscape are echoed in the shapes of the ceramic pieces. A fascination with the silhouette of the peninsula seen from afar is a theme that runs through this work. The repeated image of the outline, as well as shapes of the hills and the patterns of their contour lines found on maps, are incorporated into her designs.

Utilising photography and ceramic printing techniques allows for photo realism to be combined with more abstract mark making to build up layers of images. Once screen-printed the clay can be stretched over moulds, the print can be distorted, or small sections can be added or removed to create abstract patterns. The work is enhanced by the addition of glazes and local clays used in a painterly style.

Through these artworks, Ruth is interested in conveying the peace and contemplative qualities which one can experience when immersed in the natural environment. She seeks to enhance the qualities of porcelain and to reflect nature; the whiteness of a perfectly round pebble, the seemingly scratched patterns found in stones and the smoothness of sea-worn shells inform the design and surface quality. The gathering and sorting of found objects, stones in particular, has been a life-long obsession!

Whilst researching for this project, it has been a delight for Ruth to discover that her father, a poet, has written poems about this locality and that he had a similar fascination for the outline of the hills. Ruth has focused on one poem in particular describing the shape of the hills, which appears here on a porcelain rock and in a sound piece.

There is a play between 2D and 3D in some of the work, where flat images are printed on curved surface or a small three dimensional stones may carry a distant view. Stones have been utilised as canvases for the work.

At Porth Dinllaen on the north coast, the cliffs are prone to landslides and in the winter clay is exposed on the beach. Ruth has worked with this clay directly on the beach as well as gathering it to be incorporated into her work. This exhibition has prompted much exploration of this locally found clay, and more experimental work, exploring the possibilities of the clay (kiln failures not exhibited !)The found clay worked particularly well as a slip and a glaze, and features in a number of pieces here. It fires to a rich dark glassy brown colour at high temperatures. Painting the landscape with clay from beneath the earth deepens the connection between artwork and material.

Ruth has always been interested in large-scale ceramics, and her compositions are built up of multiple ceramic pieces, to achieve ceramic wall art on a bigger scale. This exhibition features her largest wall pieces made to date.


Creating work for this exhibition has been a mammoth task; Ruth’s largest body of work to be seen in one place. She is indebted to her two fabulous studio assistants Adele and Paola, who not only help with rolling out and preparing the clay, printing, washing screens, forming bowls…but also help in the kitchen and in the office, and their general enthusiasm and support. It has been a real team effort and a joy to have them in the team.

Ruth would also like to thank the following friends, family and colleagues :–

Huw Roberts – plaster mould making and all round ceramic advisor

John Hale – frame maker and chief engineer

Jim Sadler – metal and wood work, cake maker

Jim Abertheney – printwork for silk screens

Andy Roberts – Silk Screen print development

Justin Reynolds – supply of Film of Murmurations of Starlings filmed in woods near Porth Oer

Jill Impey – Film editor and technical assistant

Sharon Griffin – extra kiln firing

Bob Gibson –poems and voice

Dave Mansfield – frame painter, van loader, chef

Di Monether and Jackie Jones – chief bubblewrappers and packers

Sue Challis – audio and video advisor

And a huge thank you to my Mum and Dad for sharing their love of the outdoors, camping holidays, and their pronunciation of Welsh mountains, and generally for supporting me throughout this intense period of work.

Much love to Jessie and Dave for their immense patience while I worked throughout Christmas and the New Year and for stepping carefully around a house full of ceramics whilst preparing for this show!

             Ruth Gibson's 'Mapping Llŷn' exhibition at Plas Glyn-y-Weddw has been a resounding success. As Director it has been a pleasure 

             getting to know Ruth through the concept and planning process to the point of bringing the exhibition to life.  Her unique look   

          at Llŷn through clay, stone and wood takes in scenes on the peninsula and reconstructs them via screen-printed glazed

          ceramics that combine mediums to create magical representations of the familiar landscape. 

          Ruth is a professional artist who takes great attention to detail. Her approach to the exhibition process has been 
          exemplary and as a gallery we highly recommend this artist. 
          Diolch yn fawr/Thank you Ruth.

         Gwyn Jones - Gallery Director
         Oriel Plas Glyn Y weddw