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Ruby Pilven’s porcelain jewellery is individually sculpted, stained and painted by hand, so no two rings, bangles or earring sets are the same. Her use of muted pastel colours, and bold, metallic, 12 carat gold highlights, results in striking and distinctive designs, which are a new and exciting take on chintz. Ruby’s aim is to inject joy and fun into everyday life.
Born in Smythes Creek, ten minutes outside Ballarat in Australia, to ceramic artist parents, Ruby was surrounded by creativity from an early age. She studied a double degree in Business (marketing) and Visual Arts (printmaking) at Monash University before committing herself to her craft full time, working in her parents' ceramic studio – a hand-built mudbrick house and studio that she played in as a child.
“The studio is a very special place, I spent many hours watching my mum and dad make ceramics and it was where I started my ceramics career”.
Ruby’s other major influences are Smythe’s Creek’s landscape, the beach, a fascination with Japan, and her passion for printmaking.
Dedicated and committed, she works in her studio ten hours a day, moving inside after dinner to continue while listening to music or watching television. When away from her studio she uses a temporary one - a box filled with clay and tools so that she can make jewellery “whenever she feels the urge”.
Ruby’s creative process starts with sketching her initial ideas on paper and trying them out in clay. Using a Japanese technique called Nerikomi (hand-building with coloured clay), different coloured layers are stacked to create bright patterns. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. It’s a long process - each piece is fired three times and requires a drying time of two weeks to ensure that the clay doesn’t crack – but she enjoys it, saying ceramics “can be very difficult and disappointing at times but with time and effort, great things happen”. Her rings were “a playful accident”, each has a different personality and character, and she likens the final pattern to printmaking, where there is an element of surprise around each creation.
The layered patterns and the unpredictability of the outcome mean each of Ruby’s pieces are completely unique and distinctively hers.