Helen's focus as an artist is on disintegration and loss in the personal and the wider urban and socio political context. Her main work is in print and in metal sculpture. She works in print using a range of techniques including colagraph, silkscreen, heat press, and has a number of constructed sculptural works using giant knit and wire. Her sculpture pieces in metal use reworked copper pipes and sheet steel.
"I attempt in my work to respond to that elusive sense of what is left behind when somebody or something is no longer present, maybe because of inevitable change or loss, death or a more violent degeneration or destruction.
I find that using print has an excitement for me from that element of surprise and anticipation of what will be left behind on a surface."
She works in multi media using layers and collage,
"Using layers, in print, nets and silks expresses for me a sense of what lies beneath, of fragility, of comnplexity. I may follow a process where I assemble a piece and then 'diss-assemble' using collage and overlays with net or lace"
Her constructed works are in giant knit using robust materials like telephone cable, wire and thick string.
Most recently she has been working in metals, particularly reworked copper pipes and experimenting with rust on textiles.
"Using telephone wire in a sculptural knit installation while on a residency in Argentina made me want to push the boundaries further. I enjoy the physicality of working in metal; heat, hammers, headgear, gasses and molten metals. I have been, in effect, drawing with flame, working metal into something quite delicate and textured. Using metal oxidation to interact with silks to produce print effects has brought these seemingly different materials together, contrasting as well as interacting with each other."
An emerging artist whose work is informed by the urban context after a career in regeneration, community empowerment and social housing both in the UK and in Latin America.
Helen has been studying to become an artist since 2001, learning from short courses including mixed media at Diorama Arts, painting and drawing at Chelsea College of Art, life drawing, experimental textiles, screen printing, intaglio printing, fused glass, mainly at Morley College and also at West Dean College and Camberwell College of Art.
She completed a Foundation in Textiles in 2013 with distinction which was the taking off point for the development of her practice. She has a degree in Architecture from the late 70s after which she worked as an architect in planning and self build housing in Venezuela and Colombia and as a researcher in Germany, She went on to work in deprived inner city areas in London for many years, frequently using the creative arts to engage local people, especially young people, in changing their environment. This background influences and informs the development of her emerging art practise.
Helen was accepted for an artist in residence programme in La Plata, Argentina where she worked in April/May 2015, exploring areas of work in rust print and knit with wire, followed by an exhibition of her work in progress.
She now works on an individual basis with practising experienced artists to support her in the development of her work and attends metal sculpture workshops at Pelham Hall, Morley College.
2018 Made at Morley, Bi annual show, Morley Gallery
Steel sculpture 'Strainer'
2017 My Place, South London Women Artists, at Brixton East
Steel sculpture installation
2017 Blink Art Show, South London Women Artists, at 133 Rye Lane Peckham
Steel sculpture and 4 prints
2016 Made at Morley, Painting and Sculpture show, Morley Gallery
copper and silk sculpture 'Searching for what's left behind'
2015 Peckham Platform Open, London
Etching 'Walk on the Rye; orange Crow series'
2015 The Zeitgeist Summer show, Bondhouse Gallery, London
collage 'Walk on the Rye III; and Crow went on laughing'
2015 Residencia Corazon, La Plata, Argentina. Artist in Residence programme solo exhibition
Giant knit and rust pieces
2014 Peckham Platform Open, London
screenprint 'Peckham People'
2014 Home front, The Garden Museum, London
textiles 'Shattered Mind; things fall apart'
2013 The CAMAC Design and Warner Archive Student textile challenge, part of the London Design festival, Morley Gallery, London
giant knit installation 'Things fall apart'
2013 Textiles Foundation Show, Morley Gallery, London
installation 'Things fall apart: a portrait of Rye Lane Peckham'
2014 Pocket Places Peckham, Sustrans in partnership with Southwark council, London Street art installation 'Peckham people'
consisting of large scale digital prints plus a participatory element with local community
The CAMAC Design and Warner Archive Student textile challenge, part of the London Design festival 2013 winner of the sketchbook prize. Judged & Presented by Mary Schoeser, author and president of the UK textile society.
2015 to present Pelham Hall sculpture studio, Morley College, London, metal sculpture classes and workshops
2013-15 Morley College, London, courses in printmaking, screen printing for textiles, heat press techniques.
2012-13 Morley College, London Foundation in Textiles with distinction
1994-95 University of Westminster, London. Postgraduate certificate in housing project management
1979-80 Architectural Association, London. Graduate diploma in Housing (Grad Dipl AA) gained bursary, thesis in third world housing policy
1970-76 Edinburgh University, Scotland. Degree in Architecture (B.SC Soc Sc, Dip.Arch. Edin)
1999-2012 London Borough of Camden, London;- managed an urban regeneration programme in deprived area of inner city London, supporting partnership of voluntary, public and private sector. Responsible for neighbourhood Place Plans for London areas of Kings Cross, Camden Town, Kentish Town and Holborn/St Giles.
1991-99 South London Family Housing Association, London (now AmicusHorizon)
Project management of new and rehabilitated housing for black and ethnic minority clients, managing their own cooperative organisations.
1986-91 La Gaitana Housing Cooperative, London – run by Latin American migrants and refugees, worked to develop housing projects in London (short life and permanent)
1983-85 University of Darmstadt, Germany, consultant on joint research project “Self-help housing programmes in Latin America', TRILOG magazine contributor/editor
1981-83 Corvisol, Corporacion de Vivienda Solidaria, Medellin, Colombia, co-designer of large low cost self build housing project and site supervision.
1977-80 OMPU, Oficina Metropolitana de Planeamiento Urbana, Caracas, Venezuela. Developed regulations to protect and stimulate areas of traditional housing and old communities, left as pockets of decay in largely redeveloped city.
South London Women Artists
Work in private collections in the U.K and Colombia.