Take Five with Ruth Thomas
Ruth Thomas is a printmaker who graduated in 1985 with a degree in Fine Art. Then she concentrated on painting, collage and drawing. Since the early 1990s Ruth has concentrated on etchings, screenprints and drypoints but the process which allows her to express herself best is collagraph, a print from a collage, particularly an intaglio print. (If you folow her on Facebook or Instagram, you will see fabulous time lapse videos of her at work.) She has had several solo shows, won awards and in 2019 was selected for the Royal Academy Exhibition. She is currently represented by London Contemporary Art.
As well as making, Ruth also gets huge satisfaction from sharing printmaking skills with others. She regularly leads workshops and undertakes artist residencies in schools, galleries and community centres. She finds that running workshops for others also gives her ideas for her work.
In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
I just love making, being creative, and it is even better if the end result is something that seems to work. Exhibiting, selling, workshops are all wonderful but to spend time in the studio, drawing, cutting, sticking, applying ink and so on, is bliss, even though it also has its frustrations. The process of exploring and discovering is the single best thing.
Do you have a creative hero/heroine and if so, why?
Not really but I relate to the work of Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long for the way they work directly with natural materials and in the landscape. I very much admire the work of Rachael Whiteread for the way she explores negative spaces in her work and makes casts of unusual objects. So much of printmaking is about taking an impression from an object, particularly so in my case.
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
That suggests that I am wiser now and I still feel I have a lot to learn!
If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
I haven’t really been troubled by creative block, but I do know that it’s no good waiting for inspiration – the best thing is to start making and ideas will then flow. Being creative is so much easier if you can keep the momentum going.
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
We live in rural North Wales and I gather a lot of the materials I use in my work from stepping out the door and going for a walk. So, I would be a walking boot, something practical and good for exploring the outdoors and getting muddy!