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About Ruth

Willow and Greenwood Artist Ruth Thompson Robson Green's weekend escapes


Working with community groups to make a difference

Ruth is a willow artist with an extensive experience in working with communities and groups across the Northeast. Much more than a maker of physical structures, Ruth is a freelance participatory creative, lead artist, workshop facilitator and project coordinator. She loves to engage with individuals, communities and organisations, improving mental wellbeing through willow weaving activities and participatory projects. As an experienced mentor she teaches trainees and volunteers, engaging people in the creation process of simple objects as well as more complex structures.

Ruth enhances outdoor spaces with the participation of local communities.Ruth carefully assesses existing ideas, expectations and requirements when evaluating participatory processes, thus ensuring the achievement of previously defined organisational objectives. When creating willow structures in close collaboration with members of the community, the development and creation process is as important as the final structure.

When teaching workshops for individuals, groups and communities, the focus lies on the development of personal skills and enhancement of mental wellbeing. The creation and training process is as important as the tangible outcome. It is about meeting people’s needs and working with their abilities, taking them on a personal creative journey which will improve their physical skills and mental wellbeing. As Ruth is on the autistic spectrum she has an insightful approach when working with neurodivergent people.

Willow and Greenwood Artist – Words from Ruth

Ruth and Liz horse weaving Robson Green's weekend escapesI have always enjoyed being outdoors with nature. After studying Botany and Horticulture at University, I started exploring greenwood crafts in my mid 20s working with hazel and willow. I began my training at the ‘Weekend in the woods’ in Cumbria with the likes of Bill Hogarth, gradually acquiring more basketry skills through working with members of The Basket Makers’ association, such as Liz Balfour and Julie Gurr. I also benefitted from attending Northumbria Basketry group courses and going on placements in Sweden, Slovakia, Cyprus and the Azores.

Sylvan Skills started its business in 1994. Since then I have created a wide variety of willow and hazel structures for private individuals and organisations such as the National Trust and the Woodland Trust. I love working with natural materials as they are tactile, durable and sustainable.

I am passionate about adding to my know-how and love passing my skills onto others. By teaching willow weaving workshops and collaborating with other craftspeople, I gain new insights and create uplifting experiences.

This film was made by Chris Bradburn of Bradburn films

This video was made during a workshop  organised by Atypical Support CIC, funded by bluestone collaborative
as part of their Well Newcastle Gateshead community Arts projects.

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If you like what you have seen and have a project in mind for Northumberland, North East England or further afield please drop us a line by email, facebook or complete the website form