Craig Ruwe (1957-2004) was a master enamelist who studied under Fred Uhl Ball. Ball’s innovations garnered him worldwide acclaim as a master of large-scale enamelwork with over forty-five public commissions recorded at the Archives of American Art, the largest of which is ‘The Way Home,’ a 24’ by 62’ installation on a municipal parking garage at 3rd and L Streets in his Sacramento hometown. Ruwe, of Long Beach, California at the time, assisted Ball in his largest installation.
After moving to New Mexico in the 1980s, Ruwe innovated methods to create gradient imagery within the enamel and refined the presentation, using framed glass and later the metal itself as framing. Under the demands of a large commission in 2001, Ruwe engaged the painter and sculptor Zingaro (1954) to assist him. This arrangement continued until Ruwe’s death in 2004 when Zingaro was left to carry on the evolution of the process and the training of young artists. Zingaro trained Houston Llew, the creator of Spiritiles, who carries on with Ruwe's legacy to this day.