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Ruthidesigns: The Artisan

Education and Exhibition Record

Ruth Macktez Landow served for twenty-two years as the Rhetoric Analyst of the Supreme Court of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations; newly retired from her work with the Rhode Island Judiciary, she began in the summer of 2000 to work as a a freelance editorial consultant at the National University of Singapore. She holds a B. A. from Boston University (1963), an M. A. in English from Northwestern University (1964), and a Certificate in Scientific and Technical Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design (1989).

Since 1994 Ruth has devoted much of her time and creative energy to various forms of fiber art, including one-of-a-kind face-protecting/sun-screening hats; hats, scarves, and ear warmers to keep one warm in cold weather; novelty coat and hat pins; traditional and funky day- and evening bags, that is, sculptural objects that take the form of wearable art; as well as mixed media (fiber and wood) pieces for display only, created in collaboration with her husband, Prof. George P. Landow, a hobby woodworker--all under the rubric Ruthidesigns.

In the attempt to find the right retail niche for her work, Ruth has shown at these carefully selected local shows: the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) juried fall alumni/ae shows in Providence, RI, and the Courthouse Center for the Arts Annual Wearable Arts Sale juried shows in West Kingston, RI, every autumn while she is in the U.S. Her work was also accepted by the American Concern for Artistry and Craftsmanship for sale at its Art of Craft Festival at the Nassau County Museum of Art, Long Island, New York, in 1998.

Many of her pieces have also been displayed in a variety of commercial Rhode Island galleries: the Deblois Gallery (fine art) on Bellevue Avenue, Newport; Reliable Gold (fine jewelry and gifts) on Wayland Square, Providence; and The Artisan Shop at the Courthouse Center for the Arts, West Kingston.

Other galleries to her credit are the Gallery of Wearable Art on 67th Street at Madison Avenue, New York City; Handwoven Originals in Sante Fe, and LaLana Wools in Taos, both of New Mexico; Notices The Gallery, formerly in the Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore; and most lately, The Traders Show at the ANA Hotel, Singapore.

Method of Working

The inspiration for a new piece usually comes from the materials themselves--the yarns, a new piece of cording, a tassel, a new gadget, or just a bead or a bit of fringe. I use both crochet and knit techniques, depending on the degree of structure or stiffness required--sometimes using both in the same piece. Lots of texture pleases me, too, as it disguises the base-stitch pattern in some designs. (This is not your usual country/church-fair kind of crochet!) I produce every stitch by hand--I use no knitting machine, no mass-production techniques, no outside labor. When I am working out a new design, a lot of deconstruction and reconstruction takes place. When I am satisfied with the basic form, I particularly enjoy the finishing work: the linings, the customized closings, and the bead, the button, the fiber, and/or the feather trims. The greatest satisfaction comes when the completed piece in my hand looks like the picture I had in my head before I began -- or when something unexpected but serendipitous emerges during the work process.

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