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Emotion in tapestry: Picayune artist’s work displayed in Jackson

This piece is entitled “The Evocation and Capture of Aphrodite.” Miller draws inspiration from the human psyche.  Submitted photo

This piece is entitled “The Evocation and Capture of Aphrodite.” Miller draws inspiration from the human psyche.
Submitted photo


Picayune artist Ruth Miller’s artwork is now on display in Jackson at the Mississippi Museum of Art until January 25, 2015.
Miller’s portraitures take form through the medium of hand-stitched embroidery.
Miller was born and raised in New York City and attended the high school of Music and Art in Manhattan and Cooper Union School of Fine Art. She graduated from The City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts.
“I originally wanted to be a dancer,” Miller said. “After school, I had a family and worked jobs in the clerical field.”
Miller began creating art in the 1970’s, but only sporadically because she was raising her three children.
Her first glimpse at tapestry art was at the Montreal Expo in Canada.
“I saw work by Papa Ibra Tall and something just clicked,” Miller said. “I knew then that I didn’t have to paint to be an artist, I could use yarn.”
After 2000, Miller made a serious effort to begin her art career.
She moved to Mississippi in 2009 because she wanted to be surrounded by trees, natural lighting and build a collection for a one-woman show.
According to Miller, she has found more for support for the arts in this state. In 2012 she was awarded a fellowship at the Mississippi Arts Commission.
Miller draws inspiration from the exploration of the human psyche to create and make human images more interesting.
“I refer to my own personal issues and rather than use my own body image, I use the bodies of others to describe what’s going on with me,” Miller said.
Miller begins her artistic process with an idea and photographs. She then creates a line drawing, which is the actual image on fabric.
Next, she photocopies the image to make color studies using colored pencils and markers.
For the most part, Miller creates her larger scale tapestries using yarn. For smaller portraits, she utilizes sewing machine thread.
“I really enjoy it, Miller said. “I listen to audiobooks while I work and travel in my mind.”
Miller’s work has been featured in the museum within an Embassy in Gambon, Africa.
Miller’s work was recently included in the Mississippi Museum of Art’s 2014 Mississippi Invitational exhibition.
According to a press release from the Mississippi Museum of Art, the exhibit surveys recent developments by contemporary visual artists living and working across the state, and includes work in diverse media.
“It’s wonderful to be included with this great company of artists,” Miller said.
Next summer, Miller will be teaching a class at Tougaloo college as part of the Tougaloo Art Colony.
The class is titled “Embroidered Tapestry Portrait,” and is part of a weeklong art retreat for artists, arts educators and art students, Miller said. The event begins on July 12 and ends July 17.
For more information about this class, contact Professor Johnnie Mayberry at 601-977-7743 or through email at jgilbert@tougaloo.edu. Visit the college’s website at www.tougaloo.edu/artcolony.
Learn more about the Mississippi Museum of Art at ww.msmuseumart.org.
Visit Miller’s website at http://www.ruthmillerembroidery.com to view her tapestries.