‘As soon as I touched glass I fell in love with the medium’.

Ruth Shelley is an award winning artist - winning the prestigious Glass Sellers Award at the 2015 British Glass Biennale - and Member of the Contemporary Glass Society.

Now working from her studio in Cardiff, Ruth creates beautiful, kilnfired pieces expressive of her love of form, shape and colour, experimenting with, and fascinated by, the flow of glass as it’s heated. Her work is vivid, the colours dramatic, exquisite explorations in reflection and refraction.

Colour and pattern hallmark her work - a physical exploration of how colour reacts to heat - how it can change in tone, depth and intensity - to create pieces of understated elegance and harmony - reflecting the natural forms and colours that inform her work.

Her creative journey begins by absorbing the mood and colour of her favourite places, captured in a photograph. But it is back in her studio where the alchemy begins - where she loses herself and time becomes suspended. This is where she plays - with different colours and colour combinations to capture the essence of what has caught her attention, her imagination: where she works with opacity and transparency to ‘let the light in’, her designs a constant dialogue between colour, form and pattern.

Ruth cuts, layers and assembles the glass while cold, fires and fuses it before manipulating it further, sometimes exploiting gravity to ‘stretch’ the glass as it flows hot to the floor of the kiln. Pieces are then ground, polished and sandblasted to create vessels of infinite variety - speaking to the perfect connection between Maker and material.


Ruth speaks of absorbing colour from the places she loves - a process of osmosis - creating a deep connection and identification with time and place.

But to capture these memories in the vessels she makes requires patience and an openness to work and learn from the glass itself. Working exclusively in bullseye glass, Ruth creates unique stories - by first experimenting with different colours and understanding how they react to heat to create different tones and shades. Once in the kiln she allows the natural gravity of the kiln to reveal the colours and pattern hidden within the glass, controlling the flow of glass to change and manipulate the shape and form of her vessels - a process of layering and stretching, reworking and stretching until she has created the effect she wants.

Once fired she allows the vessels to cool before beginning her cold work - handcutting the rims from the dropout - a delicate process as the rims are thin and fragile differing from the weight and depth at the bottom of the vessel. Each rim is then ground - either by hand or machine - to make them even. But to achieve her final ‘aesthetic signature’, Ruth sandblasts each vessel to remove the glossiness and shine to create a sheen more reminiscent of the natural light and colour of nature she seeks to capture in her work.

Ruth describes her work as a constant journey of surprises and delights - an experimentation and dialogue between maker and material. Her beautiful collections are the result of this conversation and testament to her love of ‘painting in 3D’.