Currently Ruth is working on Making Ground , a project that explores colour physically as a material for paint and metaphysically, looking the emotional power of colour and artists' relationships with it. She is undertaking a residency at PADA Studios, Barreiro, Portugal responding to the post industrial landscape, using the sites of the derelict Sotinco paint factory and historic housing in the city as a site specific colour palette. Ruth's interest lies in both site as a material source for painting and in the immaterial or unconscious connections that can be made.
Pasture is a new artist led project space by Ruth and sound recordist Stuart Bowditch based at Braybrooks, an old dairy in Ballingdon, next to the ancient water meadows in Sudbury, Suffolk. They offer a space for artists, musicians, writers and other creatives to come and think, make work and immerse themselves in the surrounding landscape. Set in the Stour Valley, historically inspirational to artists such as Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, Cedric Morris, Lett Haines and John Nash, they aim to nuture and inspire work by creative people responding to the local, social and political landscape of today. Test Residencies are taking place in 2022-23 with painter and Jungian analyst Ruth Calland, Finnish photographer Anna Lukala who works with natural dyes and endangered folk traditions, painter Sarah Needham whose painting is concerned with the way in which pigments leave material colour across human history and traces of our interactions and Justin Hopper, American writer of landscape memory and myth.
Ruth is working with sound artist Stuart Bowditch on Fabric: Silk Road a cultural, ethnographic and textile project exploring silk on the Silk Road. They were awarded a British Council Artists' International Development Fund grant to undertake a research trip to China in 2018, taking silk from the Gainsborough Silk Weaving company in Sudbury to Artall Cultural Industries, Nanjing; they visited sericulture plants, silk mills and museums. In 2019 Ruth helped set up the Sudbury Silk Festival and Ruth & Stuart showed a short film about silk production from their trip to China, this can be see on Vimeo here Sudbury Silk Festival is now run by collected organisations in the town and aims to run biennially. The next phase of Fabric: Silk Road will involve a journey along the Silk Road from Xi'an, China to the UK visiting silk mills, museums and communities along the route, collecting silk and making a travelogue that will be shown in silk museums and communities connected with weaving on the little known Silk Road in the UK.
We Are The Weather, a research participatory art/science project with Stuart, explores internal and external weather, and their connections with mental health and wellbeing. It uses the Manchester Colour Wheel, devised by Professor Peter Whorwell and Doctor Helen Carruthers to initiate conversations about mental health and explore ways of developing a sense of equilibrium and wellbeing in connection with support offered by a range of mental health organisations and providers. An initial residency at the Aldeburgh Beach Lookout, Suffolk in 2017 explored colour, light and sound with participants on the beach. The external weather was brought into the Lookout through a camera obscura, a cyanometer was used to assess sky colour and daily weather recorded by participants as painted postcards. They also registered their internal weather or mood using the Manchester Colour Wheel. The colours from the colour wheel were translated into light and sound with a projection of a light piece from the Lookout Tower at night, in effect exchanging the internal and external weather. Follow this on instagram @wearetheweather, Twitter @internalweather and on Facebook We Are The Weather
She completed The River Runs Through Us in 2018, a collaborative project with Stuart Bowditch, working with the people and communities along the River Stour, which flows through Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk. This included a film that toured along the river during summer 2018, installation, exhibition, walks, wild swims and a book Stour and was supported by Arts Council England and Dedham Vale AONB & Stour Valley Project. You can currently watch the film on YouTube here. This project led to the forming of the River Stour Festival, an annual festival along the River Stour that runs through Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk. Ruth managed the programme from 2017-22 with a steering group of local organisations and individuals. The festival was supported by Dedham Vale AONB & Stour Valley Project and organised an annual day on PLACE with the Essex Book Festival.