Ruth Pitman

   Ruth (Thompson) Pitman was born near Omaha Nebraska on October 24, 1924. She was graduated from Dodge High School in 1940. She worked in the medical field for 28 years. In 1956, she moved to Portland, Oregon, where in the early 1960's she started lapidary work. In 1964, she began making rock tapestries, an art form she continues to this day. In 1967, she joined the Oregon Agate & Mineral Society, the third oldest Lapidary Club in the nation. She was President from 1994-1995. She married John Pitman in 1984 and raised five children.

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   Ruth taught Early American Art, Tole painting, Norwegian rosemaling, Russian Zhostovo and Khokhloma folk art, and Bavarian folk art in the early 1970's. In the late 1970's she attended eight semesters at Southern Arizona Community College where she studied Paleoethnology.

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   Making stone tapestries is a laborious time consuming enterprise. Each pinhead size piece (meticulously crushed and sized, 150-200 screenings required) is put down individually with tweezers. An epoxy specially developed for this work adheres the stone fragment to a masonite board covered in a heavy linen paper. The rocks and minerals are all natural colors. Ruth uses some 6000 different shades of rock. Each tapestry takes between 900 and 1500 hours to finish.

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   Ruth and her work have been seen on TV many times on Channel 2 in Portland and also on Channels 6 and 8. Her tapestries have been featured in many newspaper articles, magazines (including two articles in the Lapidary Journal), and have been hung in museums.

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