Ruth Stiven

Artist Biography

Artist’s Statement : TILLYSHOGLE DOLLS My painting work is ongoing, though aside from this I have also, for some time, been making these doll figures which are assembled from my large collection of old tins and miscellaneous antique porcelain doll parts from Germany. In the 1860s to 1890s they’d be made in the thousands, for sale throughout Europe. My mismatched and nicely flawed china heads and limbs have been excavated in recent times from landfills at various sites of the original factories in Germany.

I love to create and invent whole new characters and personalities from these rescued, reclaimed parts, many of which have been buried for over a century, never having been bought or played with. The embellishments are sourced at favourite fleamarket haunts in France and NYC.  I call them Tillyshogles after my childhood home in Echt, Aberdeenshire, which I think suits them, especially when handled.

" To the child, the doll is a presence. It is forever on the threshold of being, of becoming whatever the child or adult breathes into it. One begins with innocence, and the experience of time breeds knowledge and the power for good and evil. Time transforms the level of play, which may be as secret as the confessional or as brash as theatricals to an audience. Nothing and everything is revealed, the heart laid bare. " - Carl Fox

Edinburgh College of Art,  ( Drawing & Painting )  1971-76

Living and painting in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada  1976–78

Moray House College of Education,  1978–79

Painting and teaching in N.E.Fife,  1982 –

Head of Art & Design, Bell Baxter High School, 1995–2011

Senior Verifier for Art & Design, S.Q.A.  2006 -2015


Andrew Grant Bequest, study grant to Hospitalfield, Arbroath

Governor’s Prize, Hospitalfield

Andrew Grant Bequest, post-graduate and travelling scholarships

Works purchased by Scottish Arts Council,

A.Cameron Miller Award, S.S.W.A. ( now Visual Arts Scotland, V.A.S. )

Elected Professional Member, S.S.W.A., now V.A.S.

Nancy Graham Memorial Prize, V.A.S.

Paintings in private collections in U.S.A., Canada, Belgium, Sweden and U.K.


Royal Scottish Academy

Visual Arts Scotland

The Society of Scottish Artists

The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour

Aberdeen Artists Society

Royal Glasgow Institute


Talbot Rice Centre, Edinburgh

Henderson Gallery, Edinburgh

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada


The Scottish Craft Centre, Edinburgh

Kingfisher Gallery, Edinburgh

Oxford Polytechnic

Doorstep Gallery – touring bus, Arts in Fife

The National Trust Gallery, Gladstonesland, Edinburgh

South Street Gallery, St Andrews

Queen’s Gallery, Dundee

Crawford Centre, St Andrews

Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh

Atholl Gallery, Dunkeld

Frames Gallery, Perth


Henderson Gallery, Edinburgh

Gallery 22, Cupar

Dundee Rep. Theatre  

Selected Exhibitions