Susie Freeman, Martin Smith and Jane Adam @ Ruthin


Ruthin Craft Centre



Open to the Public


Selling Exhibition

Susie Freeman, Martin Smith and Jane Adam @ Ruthin

Ruthin Craft Centre

18 January – 29 March 2020

Gallery 1:

Susie Freeman: WOWI +

A Retrospective of work by Susie Freeman
including Pharmacopoeia with Dr Liz Lee

Susie established herself as a textile artist of great originality early in her career. As a postgraduate student at the Royal College of Art, following Manchester School of Art where she had studied weaving, she invented a knitted network of pockets using a monofilament thread: into each small transparent pocket she dropped a tiny object before safely sealing them with a further row of knitting, and repeating this to construct the cloth. At the same time Susie explored different ways of using and showing these works by fashioning cowls, scarves and jackets. These wearable garments were very distinctive, selling at Chelsea Craft Fair and in galleries – and attracting an admiring, loyal following.

As her children grew up her strong ethical concerns for society found a voice through her friendship with Dr Liz Lee. Together they started to question our increasing dependence on medicines and Susie began to imagine how their ideas could be visualised through her work. Taking the name ‘Pharmacopoeia’ their collaboration used innovative artistic imagery to question social concerns around health. …..with the scale of the work escaping the confines of the tiny pockets. Huge suits of armour and flowing garments, constructed from metallic pill packets, describe the issues that the work addresses; issues which become more vital each day.

Curated by Mary La Trobe-Bateman
In association with the Royal College of General Practitioners

Gallery 2:

Martin Smith: Little Machines

“I was one of those children who was always taking things apart and putting them back together again. I wanted to know how things worked and that combined with a love of art and design has given me a living. People often think my work is a bit frivolous, particularly when they look at something like the applause machine, but there is often a sarcastic or dark undertone. Its cheerfulness is underpinned with cynicism.”

Martin Smith is a Huddersfield artist engineer whose mechanical sculptures are exhibited worldwide. Collectors include Sir Paul Smith who has several of Martin’s pieces as did the late actress Carrie Fisher. Martin, an avid Star Wars fan is particularly proud Princess Leia owned some of his designs.

Everything Martin does is meticulously planned. Ideas for new work are sketched neatly in notebooks and each prototype is made with as much care as the final, finished object. 

Something like the heart machine has dozens of different pieces and is entirely handmade. I know some people think that I buy the components in and it’s just a matter of assembly, but honestly it’s not. Every nut, every bolt is made from scratch.”

This is a hands-on exhibition which invites you to carefully turn a handle, drop a coin or wave a hand to bring these incredible works to life.

In association with Harley Gallery

Gallery 3:

Jane Adam: Never The Same River

“I realised I wanted to make jewellery while sitting in the Tube one day in the Seventies, looking at the people opposite. It clicked that what really interested me as a maker were the various ways in which people chose to express their individuality in an increasingly homogenised world. It became my mission to make jewellery that reflected as honestly as possible my own experience of the richness and variety of contemporary life, in the hope that other people would find in it echoes of their own. To this day, nothing makes me prouder than seeing a piece of my work being worn and reinterpreted by a stranger.

For nearly forty years now, I have involved myself in innovation and experimentation with anodised aluminium, a metal that offers unique and infinite possibilities for colouration and mark making. However, more recently I have also been working with precious metals: silver, gold and bimetal (a fusion of the two). My work explores sensuality, both in the nature of the forms themselves and in how they feel when handled and worn. By becoming part of the wearer’s experience and self-expression, my jewellery is transformed and completed.

These days I am less focused on the demands of earning a living, and more than ever on personal satisfaction and the creation of pieces which have meaning to me. So I am pondering on my future direction as a jeweller as well as looking back at the past.”

The exhibition will feature a selection of archive pieces of Jane’s jewellery over the last thirty five years, alongside new work in precious metals and in dyed anodised aluminium.

In association with Bluecoat Display Centre.

Meet the Maker: Martin Smith

Gallery walk and talk

Saturday 7 March


FREE please call to book a place

Talk and archive sale

Sunday 29 March


FREE please call to book a place

Jane Adam will give an illustrated talk about her work and career. This will be followed by a tour of the exhibition and a special opportunity to purchase some archive Jane Adam pieces.


Ruthin Craft Centre

The Centre for the Applied Arts

Park Road



LL15 1BB


Open daily from 10.00am – 5.30pm.

Free admission.

Free on-site parking.