Helen’s ceramic work combines sketches, recalling everyday life, with simple domestic pots – mugs, beakers and bowls – made from white porcelain clay, which she uses as a canvas and draws directly on to. The forms of her pots and the style of her illustrations complement one another sympathetically – both are fluid and spontaneous; each slightly naïve, with its own individual narrative and a character of its own, some whimsical, some cheeky, some nostalgic.
Helen prefers to work with Limoges porcelain, she finds it has an organic quality when it’s fired. The form remains soft, and the clay turns a creamy white colour. Using her own researched method for drawing, she begins with an outline sketch, followed by a wash of colour. She draws over sheets impregnated in stain, leaving an image on the clay. The result doesn’t become visible till the paper is removed, helping to free up her style and producing an effect like watercolour and ink, which is then dip-glazed with a transparent finish.
Helen’s inspiration comes from ordinary, everyday things and domestic scenes. She enjoys observing people, their actions and their surroundings, and tries to capture the funny things they do. Taking a sketchbook with her wherever she goes, she likes to draw people, particularly in public places such as markets or parks.
Helen began her career studying Jewellery design at Edinburgh College of Art but chose to specialise in ceramics. She really clicked with clay as a material and decided to finish her BA (1st class honours) in Design and Applied Arts. Following this, she began an eighteen month apprenticeship with studio potter Edmund de Wall. It was here, that she learnt to throw and was able to develop her drawing technique on to porcelain.
She was a recipient of the CCDA award in 2005 and is supported by the Crafts Council and Arts Council, England.