Helen gained her degree in 3D Design (ceramics) at Loughborough College of Art in the 1960s then studied for a PGCE and ATD at Bristol University. Retiring in 2005 she had completed twenty-seven years of teaching ceramics.
Her work is inspired by organic shapes and surfaces in the garden around her workshop. She looks for strength in curves and tries to express the power of growth.
She prefers to coil shapes but often uses a thrown form as a starting point to be added to. She likes the tactile and visual contrast of strongly textured surfaces next to smooth burnished ones. One holds the oxides and the other is a canvas for the fire to paint its patterns on. She adds colour with Raku glazes letting the smoke decorate the burnished surfaces of the pots. The pieces are fired to a relatively low temperature to absorb the smoke. These smooth, smoked surfaces are polished with beeswax to preserve the decoration.
The pieces are named either in response to the finished form or to highlight the botanical source of inspiration.
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