This week on the blog we have invited Ruth Gilmour, one of the artists involved in Materialise online makers exhibition 2017 to give an account of her recent career developments since the completion of her Degree in Silversmithing and Jewellery from The Glasgow School of Art in 2017.
Working towards the completion of my degree drained much of my energy reserves, and following the graduate showcases at both Glasgow School of Art and New Designers in London, I contemplated a hiatus from researching and making. Grateful for the subsequent invitations to show my graduate collection at Northlands Creative in Caithness, and as part of Claire Norcross’s selection for Great Northern Contemporary Craft Graduates, I organised my projects then hastily travelled to sunshine and fresh produce in the Portuguese countryside, to reflect over pots of jam.
My abundant researching of the worlds phenomena, our concerning ecologies and my personal experiences with finitude, all intertwined and established a deep inner tension that perhaps energised an interesting and well received body of work, but left me feeling extremely apprehensive. I found showing this body of work to be incredibly onerous, as I struggled to present the assertion and confidence that can help viewers experience artwork. Your audience want the best for you, they want to believe in all the exciting opportunities that lie ahead following your graduation. And yet, despite the validity of such, it can all appear hazed through fatigue, and through the insecurities and vulnerabilities that are naturally inclined to surface when planning and carving space for yourself in a daunting industry.
When Jospehine Winther, Head of Accessories Design at Kolding Design School, invited me to Denmark for a three month residency in her jewellery department, I admittedly took a little persuasion. This opportunity would call for an early farewell to the warm and fruitful Portuguese countryside, and my return to another gruelling Scandinavian winter surrounded by a landscape that facilitates deep contemplation. Ecological considerations continued to feed into new sculptural and wearable work, motivated by kind invitations to contribute to an art and ecology publication, and a group showcase curated by Gregory Parsons at Ruthin Craft Centre.
The Design School offered a six month extension to continue my work, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be writing this just as Spring is approaching us here in Denmark. With the ongoing support of Josephine and her department, I am refining porcelain processes, extending considerations and developing skills to offer supervision and technical support to students. Connecting with the many established makers and researchers that contribute to the department’s program continuously provides me with meaningful and insightful experiences. I find myself softening towards my art practice, loosening my concerns towards seeking, or furthermore claiming, something definitive, and instead I am finally finding comfort and joy in the enigmatic making of art
“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant – there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing – and keeping the unknown always beyond you.” Georgia O’Keeffe
Head over to Materialise to view and explore more of Ruth’s work here. Materialise was our first in a series of Graduate and New Maker Support planned for 2017/2018 exploring ways to encourage and nurture new talent in Scotland. Our next event will take place on Thursday 26th April at Adam Smiths Theatre Kirkcaldy where we will be hosting a professional development day, Opportunities to Connect. There will be inspirational talks, breakout sessions and a pop up exhibition of the makers featured in Materialise along with a visit to our most recent exhibition Nexus which showcases the work of 20 makers. To find out more about this go here.