Ruth Katzenstein Souza is a artist of many skills and great warmth. Her lifelong practice involves projects made by foraging, dyeing, spinning, weaving, collaging, painting, piecing, stitching and mending.
"I love the metaphors that these processes invoke, as we transform materials, we see the possibilities of transformation everywhere; as we repair things of beauty we add to the repair of the world."
From Ruth's artist statement: "The most vivid experience that solidified my artistic direction was a visit to the Watts Towers when I was ten. The idea of using cast off materials, the broken and forgotten elements, to create one’s own world greatly appealed.
The next pivotal event was having a booth during the early years of the Renaissance Faire and using the imagination in community. These influences as well as curiosity for travel propelled me to England where I went to study textiles. I had lots of adventures and interesting opportunities including studying with the weaver Gerald Carter and graduating from West Surrey College of Art and Design in woven textiles. After college I returned to Los Angeles and worked at various jobs in the arts from teacher’s assistant at Barnsdall Park to set decoration at Picture Design Group. In 1979 I met John Souza who became not only my life partner but also we collaborated on projects under the auspices of Acmestudio along with Richard Orne.
During those early years of Acmestudio, raising a family and starting our architectural trellising company greenscreen®, there was little time for questioning where art and life began and ended. It all seemed to be about exploring opportunities in what may seem like disparate pursuits such as Council, dream work, sustainability and food advocacy which fed back into my world of making things. As I move forward and follow my intuition the work is more focused on process, community, and mentoring. It is an ongoing conversation about the meaning of working with our hands in a changing world. What parts do we hold on to? What parts do to we let go? What conversation does one want to be a part of? The overriding concern about our planet and the future pulls me in new directions."