Tyne and Wear

Artist Ruth O’Reilly, who recently featured in ROSL’s ‘First Look’ exhibition, tells us about her home in the North-East of England

Describe the area in three words

Passionate, hospitable, creative.

How long have you lived there and how has it changed over the years?

I’ve lived in South Shields – a coastal North East town – my whole life and I studied my Textiles and Surface Design Degree at The Northern School of Art in Hartlepool. I don’t think I’d ever move away. I feel like the art scene in the North-East has really come alive as I’ve grown up. Ouseburn is the latest area of Newcastle to really thrive through art; you can find a lot of up-and-coming artists, designers and musicians in the area’s galleries and studios. It’s a really exciting time for art in the North East!

What are the cultural highlights for visitors?

The galleries in Newcastle and Gateshead are a must visit. The Baltic, The Biscuit Factory and The Laing to name a few. They contain a huge variety of artwork, something to suit everyone from traditional to modern – and the buildings they’re in are often an artwork in themselves. Newcastle is full of amazing architecture – there’s so many historical monuments and beautiful buildings to see in the city centre; especially on Grey Street. Follow the curve of Grey Street down to the Quayside where you can see the famous Millennium Bridge and Tyne Bridge. If you head further down the Tyne to South Shields, you’ll find a beautiful coast line, a lovely place for a long walk with towering cliffs, sand dunes, lighthouses and even a bit of surfing if you fancy it!

Newcastle is full of amazing architecture – there are so many historical monuments and beautiful buildings to see in the city centre

What is the best time of year to visit?

I love the North-East all year round. Although it does get quite chilly, you can’t beat getting wrapped up and taking a long walk along the beach with a nice cup of hot chocolate in the winter. However I think the summer definitely has the edge. Sunny days at the beach with the family building sandcastles, enjoying a few drinks along the Quayside and picnics in Jesmond Dene; a beautiful park in Suburban Newcastle.

Check out Ruth’s work on Instagram @loopandyarn