Jill Ruhlman has been a clay artist for more than 20 years. Her interest is in narrative expressed through the human figure. She explores themes of inner and outer space, dreams and fears, protection and risk, intimacy and balance.
Jill fell in love with the endless possibilities of clay at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. Her artistic curiosity has also led her to study drawing, painting and figure sculpture. Many of her pieces combine two-dimensional drawing with three-dimensional figures.
Although known for many years in the Southeast as a colorist, she has chosen to work with the vibrancy of black and white in her newest series, Black and White. In this world, women balance gracefully in impossible situations, friends share secrets or read together under a tree, guardians keep watch from their ladders, and dancers dream together during a magical night. The narratives suggest mystery and yet simultaneously, feel familiar.
The technique used in the Black and White series is called "scraffito" (Italian for scratch). A black clay slip is painted over the piece and then carved through to reveal the white clay body underneath. Jill combines the drama of bold graphic pattern with the expressiveness of the human body.
Jill's work has been shown in the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution and is in many important collections in the Southeast. In 1997, she was honored by the State of Georgia as one of "Georgia Women in the Visual Arts." In 2000, Jill received the Niche Award for her captivating black and white pieces. She also regularly exhibits her latest works at American Craft Council shows in the Southeast.
© 2005-2012 Jill Ruhlman All Rights Reserved.