Ruth Fraser Gillie
I make wire and bead jewelry and other interesting items. I use all kinds of materials – wherever something pops up that speaks to me – including fish scales, cabochons (a gem polished but not faceted), and of course beads. My tools are mostly different kinds of pliers. Some pieces can be done in an hour or two while others can take days; this varies depending upon the intricacy of the piece. Every piece I make is one of a kind; I never make an exact replica of anything. Therefore, every piece requires inspiration, design, selection of materials, making the parts using head pins, eye pins, crimps, links, beads, cabochons, chains, etc. Finally assembling of the parts and putting on the finishing touches.
We started making eARTh Prints early in 2021. Creating the prints is a lengthy, messy and exciting process. Each one is made using local plants—some found in the wild and others grown in gardens of family, friends and neighbors. Samplings are collected, cleaned, and arranged on watercolor paper and passed through a press—sometimes several passes are required to successfully push the cuttings into the paper. When we are satisfied with the amount of transfer the excess plant pulp is removed. The print is allowed a day or two to dry and is then cleaned thoroughly. Often the paper warps during the drying stage so we wet it again and place it in a clamp press to flatten. Once dry and flat, we mount the finished print and prepare it for framing. Every print is an adventure. We are always surprised by the colors transferred to the paper – they are never the same color as the original flower!
I started making jewelry because I was looking for a unique gift for my sister for Christmas. When she opened it she encouraged me to make them to sell. My family has always been artistically inclined. None of us are professional artists but we all enjoy what we do. Seeing what other members of my family have done over the years has been an encouragement for me. I can remember creating things as a child and loving the process. I also create handmade greeting cards.
I have been doing this work for well over 10 years. I am 95% self-taught and have watched a few videos online to learn some basics in new areas but I’ve never had any formal training.