Michael Ruh

This year, for our joint studio Christmas jamboree with Pritchard Themis, we made a studio visit to Michael Ruh Glass in Tulse Hill. It was an absolutely enchanting evening with Michael and his partner Natascha.

I have seen glass being blown on video clips but never 'in the flesh' before. There is a real sense of alchemy and magic about the process - the molted liquid glass is completely mesmerizing. Witnessing this 'magic' performed by a maker in such total control of their medium and discipline felt like watching a piece of dance.

I have always loved the specificness of different studio tools - and they way that they carry such an intimate sense of the maker's hand. The funnel shape above is a 'sofietta' (from the Italian for breath) which Michael used to inflate the 'shoulders' of the vessel he was making.

This is the furnace in where the glass is melted and heated as it is worked. And below are the wooden 'moulds' which are used as part of the shaping and forming process.

These are the various shears used for cutting the glass. I especially like the diamond ones on the right. And here are a few of Michael's beautiful vessels in the studio - you can just see some of the blow pipes stacked up behind them.

The evening included a fascinating introduction and demonstration of the techniques Michael uses and then a chance to all 'have a go' at blowing a bauble. We each chose our colours and patterns and then, with a very firm guiding hand turned the blow pipe. It was a real privilege to feel that we had had a tiny taste of the process ourselves.

What a wonderful end to the year!

Eleanor Pritchard Studio