Wendy's World | A Tribute to Wendy Ramshaw | Part Six18 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 six that focuses on the masterful use of enamel within her work.
a jeweller's words
'Sometimes there has been comment on the apparent influence of Egyptian art on my work. In my mother’s home there was a brass table – probably made in Birmingham at the time of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb – a sort of sub- Art deco artefact. As a child, I used to spread paper on its surface and with a pencil make rubbings until the fingers appeared arranged in formal rows surrounded by signs and symbols. An uncle returning from the Far East when I was about ten years old brought me a gift of one of the first stereoscopic Viewmasters. I was bored by it except for one series of pictures which I looked at hundreds of times. They showed treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun on display in the Cairo Museum.' - Wendy Ramshaw
'Long enamelled bead necklaces in gold or silver or combinations of both have been made since 1972. The cylindrical beads (turned on a lathe and enamelled with vitreous enamel) were, in the first instance, designed as parts of the necklaces made to support enamelled pendants. They were so beautiful in themselves that they were soon being designed as pieces in their own right as long, thin strip necklaces: laboriously made, always unique, but eminently easy to wear.
These chains are amongst the most beautiful things made in my studio. They are always a delight to work upon: although the pace is slow, the work is enjoyable and exciting when finished.
I like to compare the making to painting a picture in that I usually have a plan of how the beads will be coloured and be strung. However, it will be slowly evolving piece which attempts to demonstrate some logic or some deliberately random effect. Unlike a great deal of my work which follows an exact drawing, the details of this work are only resolved while it is being created. It is rare for more than two or three of these necklaces to be made in any one year.' - Wendy Ramshaw
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.
The 'Apache Tears' ringset (pictured below left) features an enamelled band in the centre. Wendy has masterfully captured fine gold dust within the black enamel; creating an almost other-worldly surface.
explore wendy's world
In this short film below you can hear from Christina Jansen as she handles a selection of Wendy's enamel work including an early Pendulum Necklace/Brooch from the 1970s alongside Wendy's enamel necklaces and ringsets.
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.