<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Essex Life today click here

All about artist Chris Ruston

PUBLISHED: 12:13 11 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:14 11 April 2016

One of Chris Ruston's pieces

One of Chris Ruston's pieces

All rights Christopher Matthews

Chris Ruston’s new exhibition at the Colchester Natural History Museum has been a long time in the making. Janice Walker finds out more about the artist, her work and why this is such a special exhibition for her

A piece in the works A piece in the works

When artist Chris Ruston began to create her collection of ammonite books, it was with the intention of displaying them together in the perfect venue. Her plan has finally come to fruition and the exhibition, The Great Gathering, can be enjoyed at Colchester Natural History Museum.

With a background and a degree in fine art, Chris worked for many years as an art psychotherapist. She now has a studio at Hadleigh Old Fire Station and continues to express her passion for using art to explore our place in the world.

Chris explains: ‘My work looks outward to the broader ‘stories’ of life, often incorporating varied interests of science, history and geology. I am particularly interested in environmental issues and how they affect us. Museums are like islands of memory in which they hold, preserve and help us question where we have come from, where we are and where we are going.’

Chris works with paper in all its various forms, combining painting with book structures. She exhibits regularly and her work can be enjoyed in collections around the world. Her latest exhibition, The Great Gathering, consists of seven unique sculptural artist books, each created in the shape of an ammonite, representing seven moments in time.

‘The Great Gathering refers to our continued exploration of where we have come from and where we are going,’ explains Chris. ‘Fossils hold the key that has enabled us to unlock the story of our origins – from the largest creatures to the smallest organisms. Using the ammonite’s spiral shape as my starting point, these books represent the unfolding story of evolution. The humble ammonite is an abundant index fossil, easily recognised and a regular feature in museum collections.

‘I have been involved in the Essex Book Festival, with book-making workshops at Firstsite in Colchester, and launched this exhibition as part of the festival. When I was considering a venue I wanted it to be a museum, preferably alongside a natural history collection. I was delighted when the Colchester Natural History Museum agreed to be home to my ammonite books for the duration of the exhibition.

‘The museum is housed in a de-consecrated church. Originally built in Norman times, All Saints Church was closed in 1956 due to a declining congregation and opened as a museum in 1958. I was struck by the idea of changing attitudes and the controversy that Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) had stimulated only 100 years before All Saints Church changed its role. I wanted to bring these two aspects together. Therefore, one of the seven significant moments I chose to create was the publication of Darwin’s book. Its impact is still felt today. Darwin’s ideas helped open our minds to thinking about our origins and how life evolved. I have incorporated Darwin’s words and the text from Origin of Species into the book. Hidden among white pages, the text interweaves with blank pages which represent gaps in our knowledge.’

Chris continues: ‘In thinking about the history of the Colchester Natural History Museum building as a place of worship, seven is the number of days in which God is said to have created the world. I have represented seven moments through this amazing journey. Moments from the beginning of time through to the present age are incorporated within these fossil-shaped books. Like the collections held at the museum, these books are in equal measure able to preserve and reveal their secrets.’

Find out more

The exhibition runs from March 5 until May 14. For details visit www.cimuseums.org.uk/naturalhistorymuseum. You can read more about the Chris and her work at www.chrisruston.com


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Wed, 11:33

Gok Wan is one of the country’s most recognised faces, but he insists his latest one man show will reveal a side of him not yet known to the public. Kate Everett finds out more

Read more
Tue, 12:37

He’s made millions running a company shaping steel, owns Billericay Town Football Club, is both publicly and privately a generous philanthropist and is a committed Christian. In typically unique style, Glenn Tamplin shares his life story (so far) with Robyn Bechelet

Read more
Mon, 12:06

We never tire of admiring gorgeous photographs of Essex. Here’s our round-up of 11 of your best Instagram pics.

Read more
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rock star, actress and radio presenter Suzi Quatro has just written her first novel. She talks to Pat Parker about her life, loves and regrets, her home in Essex, and how she keeps her ego in check

Read more
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

From 100-year-old classics to the most advanced vehicles rolling onto the road for the very first time, P&A Wood at Great Easton is all about Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars

Read more
Monday, August 21, 2017

The ancient town of Maldon is rich in history and most of it derives from its position on the Blackwater Estuary. Like many waterways, the estuary is facing the challenges of pollution, but Petra Hornsby speaks to someone prepared to take on the challenge

Read more
Monday, August 21, 2017

Essex superstar Olly Murs is in the middle of a huge run of outdoor shows yet he still had time to chat to us about his success so far and what fans can expect from the rest of his summer programme.

Read more
Monday, July 24, 2017

To mark the tenth anniversary of its award-winning Sourced Locally initiative which brings local produce to shoppers, the East of England Co-op is celebrating some of the inspiring women who are helping to lead the future of food and drink production here in Essex. Essex Life introduces you to four of them

Read more
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fish is becoming increasingly popular, whether as a healthy addition to your diet or as an alternative to add a touch of pizazz to your summer barbecue, so it’s not surprising that our county’s fish and seafood suppliers are busier than ever. Stephanie Mackentyre went to meet some of the county’s best

Read more
Monday, June 12, 2017

Essex is seeing a boom in the number of micro breweries producing unique and high quality ales. Here Stephanie Mackentyre speaks to three producers worth raising a glass to

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Essex Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Essex's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search