Pin Cushions With Ruth Singerby Polly Leonard
Examining how we interact with textiles in everyday life, Ruth Singer creates work that brings our physical and emotional engagement with cloth to the fore. 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 2017 and 2018, Ruth was Artist in Residence at the Staffordshire Record Office, researching and creating artworks inspired by images of female criminals who were photographed in Stafford Prison from 1877 to 1915. Criminal Quilts was the result: an art and archives project a compelling glimpse into the lives of around 500 women imprisoned for crimes such as drunkenness and theft, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Recently, Ruth has been making delicate and precious pincushions from antique and hand-embroidered scraps of fine cloth as memorials and reminders of people and places. She will be teaching a workshop on making these pincushions in July and participants will have the chance to create their own tiny treasures using precious scraps of their choosing plus antique fragments and personal details.