Jo Ruth Design


I trained as a painter and taught in colleges for many years all the time continuing to develop my own creative practice. Working with young people is a joy, their enthusiasm infectious.  It keeps you curious and on your toes!  During the course of my teaching career my role expanded to include printmaking, where I developed a love of silkscreen printing and stencil cutting. I also studied and taught graphic design and illustration and became increasingly excited about the possibilities of combining practical and digital skills in the creation of experimental imagery.   Those digital skills have come in very handy over the years.

Jo Ruth DesignMy own work has always been based around the natural world, the textures, patterns and designs that are all around us and the ever-changing atmosphere created by light and colour.  Initially I was drawn to the decorative quality of birds but the more I’ve studied them the more fascinating they have become.  I hope that my prints, cards and garlands will help people bring a bit of their own enjoyment of the natural world into their homes.

I have a love of the familiar – the garden birds that visit day by day. A shy pair of Bullfinches in a dense shrub, the gregarious House Sparrows under the eaves and the opportunist Wood Pigeons that tidy up under the feeders.  It is a real luxury to get absorbed in quiet contemplation watching them going about their daily routines.  The more you watch, the more you find out about each bird’s character.

I don’t often work directly from life when drawing birds but make brief scribbles of ideas for compositions and stencils as they come to me while I’m out walking or staring down the garden out of the studio window.  I often take photos as memory joggers, to remind me of an idea for a composition or reference for colours and patterns.   I work predominantly from imagination and design my compositions from memory backed up with other visual reference.  It’s important to me to try and give a sense of place.  It’s here that I work from life, making studies of landscapes, trees, hedgerows and plants.  The birds are portrayed as I experience them, gorging on blackberries, hiding in brambles, or fluttering skywards.

Jo Ruth Design

My move to York has opened my eyes to less familiar birds such as hawks and waders.  Getting out and about in the North Yorkshire forests, moors and along the coast has inspired a whole new range of work, but I still keep coming back to the familiar birds in the garden, the ones I can see from my studio window.

My images are all original stencilled prints; no two are quite the same.  They range in size from A5 to A1+.  I produce small editions of fine art giclee print reproductions of some of the work.  These editions are limited to 50.

I also produce a range of greetings cards that I sell by post in packs of 10 (or individually at exhibitions and shows), and paper cut handmade garlands for those who love a bit of decoration.

If you are unable to visit any of the exhibitions or events that feature my work and you wish to make a purchase, please contact me and I can arrange delivery directly to you.  Artwork can be sent to you mounted and suitably wrapped but not framed.  Greetings cards and garlands are very easy gifts to pop in the post if you’d like to treat yourself!

Jo Ruth Design