Dee Ruff has had a rich and varied educational background. Earning Bachelor of Psychology and Master of Social Work degrees, Dee worked for many years in Maternal & Child Health Care, Domestic & International Adoption, and Hospice Services. Later on, her career path led her to become a Nationally Certified Licensed Massage Therapist where she enjoyed a thriving private practice.
Dee has always been fascinated by the beauty of colors and textures, especially those found in nature. During her early adult life, she found creative joy in combining color combinations in large scale needlepoint designs and in creating layers of color in her home gardens. In 2012, Dee embarked on an artistic journey of creating mosaics, one of the most ancient and durable forms of art. Through intensive self-study and professional studies with internationally renowned
mosaic artists, including classes in the U.S. and Europe, Dee has developed her own artistic voice. Inspired by her love of nature, she seeks to create modern-day alchemy in each of her four styles of work bringing together color, texture, space and light.
Her Illuminated Shards style of art combines textures and materials from the natural world with color by utilizing meticulously cut and placed art glass. Embedded reflective elements also create unique effects of light within these mosaics. Dee created her Travertine and Patina styles following her move to the American Southwest. The Travertine designs feature hand cut natural stone while the Patina series feature copper, bronze, or iron metal coatings that have been oxidized. Dee's Color Field Collection explores the beauty of nuance and subtlety while celebrating the manifestation and energy of colors. Many of her newer works feature labor intensive handmade substrates and utilize repurposed non-biodegradable polystyrene, keeping it out of the landfills. Her combination and use of these materials reflects her commitment to create art in an environmentally respectful way while providing lightweight yet sturdy panels that support her designs.
Dee finds that like stitches in needlepoint, mosaic tesserae combine into powerful and evocative unified expressions. Each tessera means something: if you take away one, the entire composition changes.
As an artist, Dee has enjoyed being a member of local, national and international art organizations. She is an active participant in global online contemporary art groups and has served as a mentor for beginning artists. Her work has been exhibited in numerous state, national and international juried art shows and charitable events and she has contributed to four public art mosaic murals across the U.S. She and her husband live in Tucson, AZ with their pampered black cat, Ace. Surrounded by the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert, her home and studio enjoy unobstructed views of the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains and provide endless inspiration for her work.
To see a full offering of Dee's work, please visit the link to her own business website, Black Cat Mosaics, on her available works page.