Ruth Davies

I am a patternmaker and woodcarver based in Paisley, Scotland. As well as producing woodcarvings for decoration or sculpture, my particular interest and specialist knowledge is in the manufacture of traditional wooden foundry patterns for cast iron, bronze and other metals.


Artist Statement

I am a pattern maker and woodcarver working from my own premises in Paisley. As a graduate of Glasgow School of Art’s Sculpture Department, and a previous Craft Fellow with the former Historic Scotland, I have over 18 years of experience working in Scotland and the wider UK’s conservation, restoration and heritage sector. My woodworking and patternmaking skills allow me to continue a long tradition which began at the start of the industrial revolution in central Scotland where cast iron architectural ornaments were manufactured and sent all over the world, and continues today albeit as a much more niche trade working closely with foundries, architects, local authorities and funding bodies involved in the restoration and repair of our townscapes heritage.

What craft do you work with? 

I have been working as a patternmaker since 2005, creating wooden patterns for architectural cast iron in the main. I also produce handmade woodcarvings for decoration, sculpture, interiors, memorials, heraldry etc.

What inspires you to work with this craft? 

I love working with wood and the feeling of creating something from scratch, using traditional methods. Making patterns for items which will be cast in metal also allows me to see how something hand crafted in wood becomes a new item with an entirely different quality and purpose.

How do you start your creative process?

I usually begin with a drawing or an existing item which needs to be replicated. Then with a board of wood off saw, I use machine tools initially to prepare the material then hand tools for carving. I enjoy carving details and seeing the finished item come to the stage where it is ready for use as a pattern at the foundry, or display if it is a carving for that purpose. The work I make is sent UK wide, however I have made a lot of work which exists in my local area and it is really good when out and about to see castings that I made the patterns for.

How would you best describe your workspace and what tools could you not do without?

My workspace is a standard woodworking shop, with a selection of machinery, power tools and handtools. I could not do without my woodcarving gouges as they allow me to carve the details which are so important in my work.

Are there new techniques you would like to try?

Over the last few years I have been learning gilding and have now worked with gold on metal, stone and wood. I love learning new skills and expanding the knowledge I have. Surface decoration of wood is something that is really interesting to me now and I would like to have more opportunities to practise gilding on to wood and try out other surface techniques with lacquering etc.

What have you learnt or the best advice you have received that you would like to share with fellow crafters?

The best advice I have received is just to stay interested and keep learning! I would always say that taking the opportunity to learn new skills whenever you can is really important.I collaborate on projects often, with metalworkers, artists, and other craftspeople so it is normal for me to do this. My professional dream is simply to be able to keep working on interesting projects and producing work which will be appreciated and in use for a long time.


Media & Contact


Freelancing: Pollock Davies







Instagram: pollock_davies


Photography credit

Ruth Davies, Paisley


Scotland, United Kingdom

Material Library entries

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