Textile artist Ruth Singer has won the prestigious Fine Art Quilt Masters prize at the Festival of Quilts with a piece inspired by Victorian women criminals. The winning piece, Criminal Quilts: Hanging is part of a series inspired by original archive photos from Staffordshire Records Office which Ruth came across during research for a commission for Shire Hall Gallery in 2012. A series of six small Criminal Quilts were commissioned and purchased by Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford, in 2012 and are now on display adjacent to the historic court room which inspired them. Research is fundamental to Ruth’s creative process as a result of her first career in museums. She creates work for exhibitions and commissions exploring narratives, personal and historical stories including memories and emotions from her own personal life and family. Ruth uses materials and techniques with a sense of history: “I am drawn to the discarded, damaged and fragile; things with stories. I work mainly with old cloth and favour traditional hand techniques of appliqué, patchwork, quilting and hand embroidery.” In this piece she has used naturally-dyed silk organza in layers with reverse appliqué and hand embroidery. Each leaf has two layers and the layers are suspended in front of one of the archive photographs from Staffordshire Records Office. Criminal Quilts: Hanging will be on show at the Knitting & Stitching Show in London, Dublin and Harrogate in October and November 2016. Quote SVG16 for £2.50 off your ticket to The Knitting & Stitching Show*.