Ruthie Murray 90 IL
Based in Norwich, VT
In 2015, after years of designing on-trend pieces for a variety of jewelry companies, I became fascinated with the idea of stripping extraneous decoration from my work in order to reveal pure, elemental form. I've been incorporating wood into more and more of my work lately - I'm really drawn to the combination of warm wood and cool silver, and have also been experimenting with magnetic closures. All of my work is made of reclaimed metals whenever possible, and I also use only sustainably harvested American hardwoods.
What are some things that inspire you in your studio practice?
A couple of years ago, I was visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with my husband when I saw an amazing ring in a corner of a gallery of ancient artifacts. With its clean lines and bold shape, it was a piece that could sit just as comfortably on display across town at MoMA - but it was 5,000-6,000 years old. I was struck by the fact that, although this ring was crafted at the dawn of goldsmithing and with the simplest of tools, it was somehow completely sleek and modern, transcending trends and fashion for millennia. I had a new goal and focus for my work: designing more essential forms like this one and using them to create jewelry designed to be worn over a lifetime. In addition, it’s important to me that my work be made as sustainably as possible so, to that end, I use reclaimed gold and silver in my work whenever possible.
Does your current creative practice tie into your time spent at RISD? How so?
I was an Illustration major at RISD, and drawing is still the first step in bringing a piece to life. I carry a sketchbook with me everywhere I go, and I'm constantly refining my ideas on paper. Drawing allows me to resolve issues with forms and connections before I ever even think about picking up a tool. Each concept evolves over time until I know everything about its look and function - then I start making it in 3D.
Is there a work/body of work that you are particularly excited about sharing with us at RISD Craft this year?
I've been developing my collection of wood and silver jewelry, and exploring the use of magnets in my work. I find the combination of warm, glowing wood and cool, brushed silver really appealing. I'm playing with magnets to attach pieces in what I hope are new and elegant ways.
Any recent press/exhibitions/achievements you'd like to share with us?
I'm really pleased that my jewelry is now available at http://www.risdworks.com/ - it's great to be in the company of such talented alumni!
To see more of Ruthie's work, visit ruthiemurray.com