Michael Ruh

"making is my language"

What is your craft?

I’m a glassmaker – I’ve made that my living for more than 20 years now.  I design and make tableware and pendant lighting. I also make bespoke pieces for architects and designers.  It’s taken many years of hard work to hone my skills. My work is sold in department stores, galleries, and directly from our studio and off our website.

Why and how did you start?

I always felt I had to be a maker.  I didn’t choose it, it chose me.  It was crucial. Now making is the only place I feel at home. I began my schooling at the Institute for Applied Arts (I.K.A) in Mechelen in Belgium.  Later I moved to London and worked as an assistant in a glass studio.  I had a dream about how I would make what I make.  The following morning, during tea break, I made a test piece.  That was the foundation of my current practice.

What inspires you?

Light and colour.  I would wither of sadness if I couldn’t continue in my practice. Making is my language.

Where do you work?

I’ve got a furnace in my studio (in Tulse Hill, South East London) full of molten glass, from which I blow my vessels and objects. It’s on 24/7.  My studio is clean and light-filled.  I try to keep it uncluttered.  We found the studio when we had been “turfed out” of our old place.  Then a very fortunate set of circumstances made it possible for us to acquire the studio, and buy it. 

What’s your favourite tool?

I still work with the very first hand tools I ever bought 25 years ago. And I’ve made my own tools to develop the scribed lines in my vessels which have become my unique aesthetic signature.

Ambitions?

My work continues to evolve in nuanced ways. But I’d like to create larger conceptual pieces and complete environments.

Any advice for others?

Pay attention to your workshop. You’d better feel good there, because you’re going to spend a hell of a lot of time in it. A place with natural light is essential – and a pleasant view.  A bit of quiet is really good, too. Then work hard and stick at it.