Wendy's World | A Tribute to Wendy Ramshaw | Part Five14 May 2020
This May The Scottish Gallery hosts an online tribute to Wendy Ramshaw CBE, RDI (1939-2018) - Wendy's World where you can view available works including Ramshaw's signature ringsets.
We have also produced a series of blogs that take you through Wendy's illustrious career in her own words. Please enjoy part five that focuses on her beautiful geometric ringsets.
a jeweller's words
'My grandfather took me on regular visits to a very pleasant small museum, art gallery and library in Sunderland. It was filled with glass cases containing stuffed animals, pickled snakes, and an unbelievable fossilized tree. There were paintings illustrating the life and romance of a ship building town and fine ship models. There were ships’ propellers, the reflections from the old lighthouse and models of ships engineered to exact scale. These must have been major influences in my early thinking, the wonders and romance of the industrial art combined. In 1951 I went with my parents to the Festival of Britain. I saw the amazing architectural styles of the pavilions, so clearly pointing the way to the future. A sense of creative energy was expressed through the specially commissioned works of art which surrounded and decorated them. I decided I wanted to go to art college to train as an art teacher and I studied illustration and fabric design at Newcastle.' - Wendy Ramshaw
The making of such work is both a serious and joyful task. I choose to manipulate small elements achieving effects which are on one level simple and on the other complex. I like abstract form and care about a sense of surface. I am fascinated by the concept of visual rhythm.
'In 1969 I designed ‘pillar’ rings. They arose out of my use of the lathe as a tool central to thinking and aesthetic. I perceived many kinds of cuts and patterns as being possible in advance of using the lathe, but the real vocabulary of turning – the spacing and the balance – developed as the lathe revealed to me its own logic and rhythm. I allied this to my own natural feeling for balance and proportion. The result was a long series of pieces, and an ongoing interest in the results of the turning technique. It presents me with the precision I need and makes contact with a twentieth-century vision: technology and ornament uniting. An exhibition catalogue for Pace Gallery in 1970, illustrating turned pendants and rings, developed this visionary theme – they were depicted, through montage, as huge objects set in or against industrial and rural landscapes. The ring is the most intimate and personal form of jewellery, which is enjoyed by both the wearer and observer.' - Wendy Ramshaw in Conversation, Master Craftsman c. 1985 by Chris Walton
Wendy Ramshaw has civilised and cultivated the lathe so that her circles and roundels become not geometry but feminine style.Graham Hughes, 'A Life's Partnership', p45
Wendy Ramshaw [has given] her pieces human allure as well as mathematical precision; she has invented stacking rings and cluster rings so that jewellery can be enjoyed on your table as well as your hand. Here is an exciting new art language.Graham Hughes, 'A Life's Partnership', p45
explore wendy's world
The stands for sets of rings are unique to the works of Wendy Ramshaw. The first perspex stands were made in the late sixties and did not screw apart because only the bottom section existed for the rings to sit upon. The concept of the ring set as a sculptural work, to be enjoyed when not being worn, was at the time regarded as innovative. Stands are often similar as they are produced for rings in related series. The stands for special pieces are completely unique to the work which is mounted upon them. Sometimes it may be that the stand and ring are of equal importance.
In this short film below you can see a selection of Wendy's geometric ringsets that feature in the exhibition. When not worn, they sit as a piece of sculpture on their bespoke stands. These stands can then be unscrewed to release the ringset captured within.
For further reading you may wish to explore two publications that are available to purchase on our website. A Life's Partnership (below left) presents a beautifully illustrated career with archive images and quotes from Wendy Ramshaw herself. Wendy Ramshaw The Scottish Gallery Collection (below right) allows you to explore works available to purchase at The Scottish Gallery and for the duration of this exhibition it is at the special price of £10.
For further details discover our online tribute to Wendy Ramshaw - Wendy's World where you can view available works including Ramshaw's signature ringsets.