Wendy Ramshaw: Room of Dreams (4 stars)

Wendy Ramshaw: Room of Dreams

Touring exhibition celebrates work of artist, designer and jewellery-maker

Reflecting Miguel de Cervantes’ belief that to ‘protract great design is to ruin it’, artist, designer, jewellery-maker and goddess of the festooned gate Wendy Ramshaw is contemporary applied art’s elusive matriarch.

Ramshaw’s extraordinary career is celebrated in this show, which takes its name from her 2002 installation that forms the centrepiece of this excellent touring exhibition.

The partial weight of Ramshaw’s huge body of work is represented in the main room. There are her beautiful sketches that bring into focus her gift for the fantastical and surreal. There are the high design rockets, the photographs and templates of her inspired wrought iron gates. There are those brooches, art deco renderings in the pop art age, that only Lea Stein came anywhere close to matching. There’s glass, there’s jewellery, tribal necklaces, digit-embellishments that really look like cock rings with nipples of moonstone, tourmaline and labradorite on top. Ramshaw’s creations are myriad and astounding.

And then it’s into the doll’s house that is the Room of Dreams with its walls ‘like a collector’s collection of specimens, some dreams and some tales of caution’. Frame upon frame of necklaces, dead birds, key-ring sets and much more. Framed Rousseau postcards provide a counterpoint. This dream of a life has been a sweet one.

Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh until 30 March

Wendy Ramshaw: Room of Dreams

A major retrospective spanning fifty years of the artist's work in jewellery and in public sculpture, centring on the acclaimed Room of Dreams environment.

Wendy Ramshaw: The Inventor

Works by Wendy Ramshaw, paying tribute to her Room of Dreams exhibition at Dovecot, featuring new work, archive material, photographs and sketch books.

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