Bower Designer - Ruth Waterhouse

Tasmanian artist Ruth Waterhouse is the creative designer behind Bower. Ruth started her career as a jeweller and sculptor over 23 years ago. Australian plants, such as the Eucalypt or gum, often appear in her work but her main subject matter is Australian wildlife.

 To see more of Ruth's work visit her other web site

When asked about her career as a jeweller, and her inspiration she says;
"I feel uncomfortable when people call me a jeweller because I studied sculpture at art school, not jewellery, and I cannot set a gem stone to save my life! But yes, it's true, I do make jewellery so I guess I am a jeweller."

"Right from the beginning I started basing my designs on my interests and my passion. I have always felt an empathy with animals and at various times of my life have had the opportunity to care for injured or orphaned wildlife. It just grew from there."

"I guess when you have an interest it can drive you. If you can combine your interest with your work, it can't get much better than that. I feel very lucky that I've been able to do that."

Ruth has a dedicated following that has grown over the years to include collectors from all corners of the globe. Ruth's work appears to cross age boundaries too, with designs purchased to celebrate an eighteenth birthday or an eightieth.

"I am extremely flattered that designs I created 20 years ago are still being worn and enjoyed today."

The technique Ruth uses is called "the lost wax" technique and each and every bead must go through this process. More information is available about this very old process at the bottom of this page.

So how did "Bower" come about?

"Well, I was getting lots of requests from my customers to make bead charms and they all insisted that they could not find any good Australian beads out there.
I made my first bead, the Platypus, and I was hooked. It is still one of my favourites."

Designing for Bower is another vehicle by which Ruth can express her passion for Australian wildlife but it also allows her the freedom to explore other design ideas. The Bower range is continually expanding to include many diverse themes. Fine bead connoisseurs throughout the world will not be disappointed by Ruth's unparalleled attention to detail and the creativity of her designs.

Return to this web site often, or sign up for the newsletter, so you will always be informed of her latest creations.

           A note from the artist; Bower beads are fun (and addictive!) and I will never
           run out of ideas for them
. Creating them has enabled me to indulge my sense
           of whimsy
but at the same time put in the fine detail that I enjoy so much.

           I  aspire to create superior bead charms for you that have the power to make
           you smile, engage you and enthral you, not just now, but for generations to come.

          To see more of Ruth's work visit her other web site

The Lost Wax Technique

Each original design is modelled in wax, with particular attention to detail. A design may take many hours, days or months -  to get ‘just right’.

"While some designs seem to create themselves and are a breeze, most don't come together straight away and require constant reworking and adjustments. I'm like a dog with a bone though, and I don't give up. I'll come back to complete a half worked idea or design sometimes even years later. Ironically the pieces that often cause the most grief are the ones I see as my best."

"Incorporating fine detail into a piece is a challenge I love and welcome and I am happiest when I can lose all sense of time and place and just get totally absorbed and lost in the work."

Once Ruth is happy with the original wax model, it is enclosed in a casting mould. The mould is heated, and the wax melts, leaving a hollow space. The wax is ‘lost’; the hollow space ‘is’ the design and is filled with molten metal — precious gold or silver.

After cooling, the casting mould is destroyed, revealing the design in metal. To reproduce this design, a rubber mould is made and filled with wax to create a replica of the original. This wax replica must then go through the very same process of casting as the original.

Each piece is carefully sanded, filed, polished, coloured, and detailed by hand, to the desired high quality finish.

What was wax … soft, fragile, and transient.... becomes strong and durable, enhanced and precious.


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