Ruth Alice Nesbit, Artist and Illustrator

About the Artist

Ruth Alice Nesbit emigrated from England to South Africa a long time ago.

She said to everyone that she would never live in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Never say never!

Many decades later, Ruth is happily creating art in her studio, over-looking the Indian Ocean on the Eastern Seaboard of South Africa, Nelson Mandela Bay.

She is also spending a lot more time in the UK and Europe gathering inspiration from her grandchildren, friends and different locations.

She has a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the School of Art and Design at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, which includes Sculpture, Printmaking and Ceramics and is currently working in the medium of stained glass as well as writing and illustrating children’s books.

Ruth and her late husband Hunter, who was well-known for designing and fabricating stained glass windows for commissions all over South Africa, have made beautiful stained glass windows together, for churches, corporates, universities, schools and private clients.

Over the last few years Ruth (Ruthie) has written and illustrated a series of children’s books that are fun, full of adventure, contain a few subtle pointers on friendship, and with the idea that anything is possible if you just dream it!

For me the feel of the medium is important, while the transition between two and three dimensional work really excites me. The surface quality of pewter, patina of bronze and the unlimited textures and colours that can be achieved on the surface of clay and glass are a continual voyage of discovery – I would like my work to convey some of the vitality, colour and humour that is so much a part of life on this crazy planet.

The artist with the "Angel of Africa" Bronze Sculpture

Highlights & Achievements

A four month stint as Invited Artist in Residence at Wellington College, Crowthorne, England as well as the first artist from South Africa to be award an exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute’s new gallery in Kensington, London, UK – with a grant from the Ernest Oppenheimer Foundation Award (Oppenheimer Scholar).

A studio for four months at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (with her husband Hunter).

Attending Brighton Polytechnic, England.

A Master’s Degree in Fine Arts (with distinction) from the School of Art and Design at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PE Technikon.

Full List of Exhibitions and Commissions


Do you ever get bored with art?
Never! I am passionate about visual communication in all mediums from sculpture to illustration. There is no need to learn a new language – the secret is: Just look!

Where do you get your ideas from?
I get my inspiration from seeing things from multiple perspectives and translating them into something unexpected – in the same way that Picasso looked carefully at a bicycle seat and handlebars, which he turned into a bull’s head!

In your opinion what is most important about being creative?
The most important thing to me is to maintain a sense of humour, to be able to laugh at and myself, to be extremely persistent, but not ever too ‘precious’ about what I create.

What are your hobbies?
I love swimming. I swim every morning, without fail, throughout the year, and enjoy the sunrise with my other crazy friends…sometimes with dolphins, the odd penguin and maybe a visiting sea otter.

Click to read the poem: Jupiter the Snail!

Art doesn’t always have to convey a message but a feeling – an unquantifiable sense of enjoyment – or just a different perspective on this crazy world we live in! My work, initially is not always obvious, but to be discovered, as in the illustrations for the Paper Boat Story. It must be fun! And make you laugh. Laughter opens the door to our souls.

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