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 worksA 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

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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

Yesterday, 12:40

To mark the centenary this month since the end of World War I, Stephen Roberts explores the impact the war had on Essex and some of the men that left this county to serve their country

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Escape to the Chateau star Angel Adoree is currently reaping the benefits of her incredible vision and drive to build an overseas wedding and lifestyle business from scratch with husband Dick Strawbridge. Here she tells Essex Life about series five of the hit Channel 4 show and how a strong Essex work ethic helped her dream so big | Words: Denise Marshall

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hannah Salisbury from the Essex Record Office tells the story of an exciting project that is taking memories on tour around the county

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Whether you know him for his madcap antics, his reality TV appearances or his unique voice, Essex boy Joe Pasquale has earned his place as one of the nation’s favourite entertainers. Kate Everett caught up with Joe to hear what’s next in his 30-year showbiz career

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

With the help of finance expert and writer Philip Beresford, Essex Life reveals the 2018 Essex Life Richest 50

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Epping is so much more than the last stop on the Central Line. Petra Hornsby meets the volunteers helping to preserve one of Epping’s most treasured and enduring treasures – its forest

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The agricultural heritage of the county cannot be underestimated. Here Stephanie Mackentyre visits three farms that have been feeding Essex for generations

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Paycocke’s House and Gardens, now owned by The National Trust, is one of the county’s most precious historic sites and 2018 marks 500 years since the death of the man who gave the house its name. Ruth McKegney tells the tale of this Coggeshall jewel

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Southend has given the great and the good fabulous days of fun beside the seaside for generations, and they keep coming! Petra Hornsby tells the tale of one newcomer who has fallen in love with Southend through a comedy connection with Laurel and Hardy

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Neil Oliver is perhaps best known for his role as the presenter of the BBC’s Coast series, but he is about to embark on a quite different tour of the UK, calling in at Southend. Kate Everett found out more

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search