‘Tea Ceremony’ | Ceramicist Ruth Gibson’s Korean Exhibition

Shrewsbury based ceramic artist, Ruth Gibson, is well known throughout the UK for her stunning screen printed ceramic and porcelain art work. Ruth sells and exhibits her work throughout the UK and regular creates bespoke and community art projects. Her latest exhibition is particularly exciting as it takes her work to the Far East.  

Ruth finds creative parallels between Korean and English culture in her clay work. Her impressive range of work has caught the attention of Dr. David Jones master of Raku and senior academic at the University of Wolverhampton UK, and Professor Lee, Boo-Yun of Hanyand University in Seoul in South Korea, who are co-curating an exhibition of ceramics. 

The curators were looking for international ceramic artists to draw parallels, as well as differences, between Korean and European culture in clay work and, its handling, decoration and firing. Many ceramicists use techniques that originated in the Far East and have been re-imagined through a Western sensibility.



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In the exhibition titled Invitational Ceramic Exhibition: Heritage and Diversity: UK, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Korea, Ruth will primarily be showcasing her impressive work, ‘Tea Ceremony’. In this artwork, the artist examines some of the parallels between the Korean and English cultures of tea drinking: an important historical and social activity within both cultures.


In Korea, tea is taken as part of a ritual ceremony, ‘Darye’, using simple, ceramic vessels of an organic nature, often displaying the mark of the maker, in neutral tones. In England, the ceramic industry evolved from the desire to manufacture a fine tea cup, often seen as a symbol of status and class. In both cultures tea drinking has remained popular although in England the ritual element no longer exists and the vessel is not as important as it remains in Korea.
 

In this piece, the artist has worked with contrasting clays, a gritty dark, heavy blue brick clay and a delicate, white, translucent porcelain. This contrast highlights the duality in her work; refined porcelain vessels, set upon a rough textured plinth. The porcelain references the refined English teacup, whilst the indented marks of the maker echoes the Korean tradition. Decorative surface patterns and textures have been created combining photography and print, inspired by the beauty of the artist’s local natural environment.



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This collaborative exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for Ruth, whose influence and reputation in the world of ceramics is constantly growing. Her range and breadth of work are incredible. If you have yet to really experience her work you can visit her website or view this wonderful video made of her at work a couple of years ago.