Meet the Maker - Ruth Ander

Monday, September 01, 2014
Hello!  Today's Meet the Maker interview comes from local printmaker and designer, Ruth Ander. Ruth's work is inspired by local nature scenes, they are so beautiful we had to find out more.  We asked her about the processes behind each piece.
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
Hello, I'm Ruth Ander and l make hand pressed mono-prints on tissue and Japanese paper. Sometimes I just mount them and sometimes I make them into lampshades. 

Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
I'm a full time mum to a 2 year old, and as well as printmaking I tend my garden and allotment. I try to fit in the odd walk too. 
When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
I knew at school that I wanted to make things- and though I wasn't always the best in the art room, I just kept doing it because I loved it. I finally discovered printmaking at University studying illustration and I've been honing my unique technique ever since. 
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
I love to peel back the paper after I've pressed a print to see what the result is. Because you never work directly onto paper when you're printmaking (but through the medium of a 'plate') you never really know what you're going to get. You have to be very flexible and go with whatever image you have, which keeps you on your toes. 

Where does your inspiration come from? 
The inspiration for many of my prints comes from the coast around North Somerset and the accompanying weather (i.e. rain!), but I also love to make prints of natural forms such as bare trees, birds in flight, and flowers. I like to put them through my process and see what comes out the other side. 
Describe your studio or workspace? 
I have a small shared studio in a roof space in south Bristol. There's no real contact with the outside world up there, so it's like a (very messy!) sanctuary. My workspace mainly consists of a large table with perspex on top, where I roll out ink and take my prints, with rollers, paints and paper strewn about the place. Organised chaos. I usually arrive, put on Radio 6, make a cup of tea and assess what I made last time I was there. Then I get on and make something- time is precious when you have a little one. 
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Probably Winifred Nicholson - I would like to see how she managed to combine motherhood and making art. With a will of iron I suspect. 
How would you describe your creative process? 
I go out into nature to get inspiration, take lots of photos, then come back to the studio and try to figure out how to unpick an image into layers for a print. Once done that I work fairly quickly. I like to go with happy accidents. Making the lampshade is the relatively easy bit. 

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
The little crocheted blanket my grandmother knitted for me and my twin sister when we were babies. It's literally made with love. 
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
Go to the coast and walk. It always inspires. 

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
Successfully combining life and art.

Thank you Ruth, your lampshades are beautiful!  You can discover Ruth's work for yourself by popping into our Made in Britain shop.
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