I was asked to go and talk at Ruthin Craft Centre last week. I am not particularly comfortable public speaking. But this was a study day for a group of nice and bright students from local schools. On the cusp of choosing which way to take themselves. Which creative journey to begin. Which art or design rollercoaster to step aboard. I was there to talk about the many and varied careers I’ve had. And continue to have. To demonstrate there isn’t just one road to be taken. It’s not often seen as a positive thing – career multi-tasking.
Ruthin Craft Centre is a bit of gem of a place. In a grand new-ish Sergison Bates building in a pretty Welsh setting. Ruthin is holding the craft baton high – certainly higher than the Crafts Council manage to these days. You feel a genuine sense of love of craft at Ruthin. You see makers in residence. You see proper exhibitions across the widest definition of the word ‘craft’. You have a nice shop with really nice things in it. And you have (crafted) benches to sit and contemplate the architecture and the glorious hills.
I mooched around before the talk and found the delightful fables and figments exhibition. On until September. There were a fair few pieces by Jenny Southam in it. If Shelf Appeal ever commissioned a ceramic header, Jenny would be the maker. Such fine expressions her people have, and comic girth. So sturdy her animals (the horses!) and such ceramic surety to her work. Staffordshire figures for the 21st century.
The ‘giant’ poodle pictured here is having his coat trimmed by a lady on a step ladder, seen working industriously to his side.