"Underground People" Glass Plate by Ruth Wilbur Peterson
"Underground People" Glass Plate, 2012 by Ruth Wilbur Peterson, non-indigenous bullseye glass, metal stand 10" high x 10" wide x 3" deep (plate) 12" high x 10" wide x 7" deep (on stand)
Ruth Wilbur Peterson was born in Bellingham WA, in 1960. She moved to the Skokomish Reservation in 1974. Soon after, Ruth met and eventually married Andy Wilbur-Peterson, renowned Skokomish Nation master carver.
In the mid 70's she was introduced to the traditional life style and the arts of the Salish culture from Skokomish Elders. She learned to make baskets and gather basket materials from Master Basket-makers from both Skokomish and Chehalis Tribes, such as, Louisa Pulisfer, Emily Miller, Bruce Miller, Hazel Pete and Yvonne Peterson. While making baskets, she was told legends that still inspire her work today.
Prior to her carving career, she made traditional clothing such as; dresses, shirts and button-blankets with her husband. In the late 70's, Ruth's husband taught her the basics of graphics and carvings. In 1990, after a severe burn to her hand, Ruth began to seriously carve wood as part of her physical therapy regime.
Her current work includes; glass, carving silver, mask, spirit-panels, drums, rattles, masks, button-blankets and silkscreen prints. She also spins and weaves wool.
Over the years, Ruth has taught and helped many community members learn the art of basketry, drum making, graphics, painting and carving. She is currently teaching her daughter Bunni the art of box-making, graphics, painting and carving. She is also inspiring her to incorporate Salish legends into her art.