Ruth O'Leary is an experienced embroiderer with many years experience in designing and creating embroidered artworks, including bespoke pieces on commission.
She has a fully recognised professional qualification, and has exhibited in a range of forums, including private displays, public spaces and galleries.
Ruth uses a variety of embroidery techniques in her work, depending on the requirements of the piece, but specialises in goldwork, surface stitchery, and free machine embroidery, often embellished with appliqué in fabric or fine leather.
She enjoys the demands of working to commission. Although Ruth works to her own original designs, and develops each unique project from inception to completion, she enjoys discovering the client's requirements, and the fresh ideas that develop from them.
Ruth has been a member of the Embroiderers' Guild for over 15 years, and is a past Chair of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne branch.
Ruth recreates a bit of history, Sunderland Echo, 3 February 2012
Needle in the Cathedral, Workbox, no. 114 December 2008/January
2009. p. 20-21
This article describes the successful exhibition held in May 2008, and includes photographs of Ruth's work.
St Cuthbert's Banner
A selection of articles on the making and dedication of St Cuthbert's Banner:
St Cuthbert's Banner, Embroidery, July/August 2012, p. 9
Sunderland textile artist recreates medieval embroidery, R&R, May 2012, p. 13
Banner in honour of St Cuthbert placed at his Durham Cathedral tomb,
BBC News, 21 March 2012
Includes a video, with an interview with Ruth
Saint's banner returns, The Journal, 21 March 2012. p. 3
New banner celebrates the life of St Cuthbert, Northern Echo, 21 March 2012. p. 16
Saint's banner brought back to life, Sunderland Echo, 19 March 2012. p. 6
Saintly banner brings history to life, The Journal, 20 January 2012
Ancient banner is reborn, Northern Echo, 20 January 2012
'My life in stitches'
One of the UK's leading embroidery magazines, CrossStitcher, contained an exclusive interview with Ruth.
The June 2009 issue featured My life in stitches, asking Ruth about her designs and the techniques she uses, and her attitude to her life and work.
A PDF of the interview is available to read.
Show Your Hand
Part of the Banff and Macduff COAST festival, 2012
North East Art Collective gallery opening exhibition, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2010
Needle in the Cathedral
Cathedral Church of St Nicholas, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2008
Eye to Eye Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2008
Hartlepool Art Gallery, 2006
I am a largely self-taught embroiderer and textile artist based in the North East of England. I am particularly interested in the ways in which centuries-old hand embroidery skills can be used in the modern day, especially the use of medieval Opus Anglicanum techniques. As such, I use its principle techniques – goldwork and finely shaded split stitch – in my own contemporary designs. This requires considerable craft skill, an eye for detail, and a good deal of patience! I also enjoy the challenges of hand-finished machine embroidery for larger-scale pieces, but the beauty and versatility of metal thread embroidery will always be my first love.