I had an email this week from a reader noting our recent fascination with Japanese craftsmen, or you could say our prolonged fascination. He asked if we would showcase different makers from other parts of the world. Interestingly, I have to agree. My heads been a bit stuck in the sand lately and it seems like we’re just representing craftsmen and designers from East Asia, but that’s not really my intention. I hope to deliver a more rounded experience from now on, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled for those situated from all parts, no favouritism allowed. As I’ve said before, glass is a subject that I’ve yet to really explore on a personal level. So coming across the Michael Ruh Studio was a great source of inspiration, it’s brilliant to see a UK independent workshop making beautiful functional vessels like this.
The studio itself is owned by Michael Ruh and Natasha Wahl. They met each other in a Belgian glass blowing studio in 1995, and after many years making glass together in no fixed location, they decided in April 2004 to set up a workshop near home in South London. I can imagine all the life experiences they’ve gone through, particularly selling their works all over America in a second hand van, have played a big part in their aesthetic taste and general outlook on life. For example Michael’s colour choices have been influenced by Western sunsets and various landscapes that he saw on his travels. Talking of colours, this was one thing that I did notice, their ability to use colour in quite a subtle but striking way. Maybe it’s the translucency of the glass that takes that garish edge off, I think if it was too bold it just wouldn’t work as well.
But these final choices are all down to the maker, balancing these different elements so they work together in harmony, texture, colour and form. I also have a lot of respect for Michael’s dedication to the traditional glass making skills, hoping to pass these on and make his works with only simple hand tools. I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to make it down to their workshop and get hands on with the craft, for now I’ll sit back and admire these stunning photographs from inside the workshop.