Thursday, 15 December 2011

Every best wish for 2012

This year, instead of sending Christmas cards we've decided to donate to Oxfam's project to train a businesswoman.  Having spent most of the energies this year building my own business, it seemed an appropriate choice.

Wishing you a very Merry Solstice and every best wish for 2012. 


Monday, 12 December 2011


Wow!  It's been an amazing two weeks since setting up my exhibition at Sock Gallery, Loughborough.  The work has been really positively received, sales have been great, both of originals and prints and it's been a wonderful affirmation of my creative work.  So.... I'm still on cloud nine!

The exhibition runs until January 15th.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Max the Cat

Our very lovely Max the Cat has departed this mortal coil and gone to prowl amongst the stars.  he was very much a textile bumpkin, always curled up on the fresh washing, a blanket, or a tea-towel if needs be.  Never any trouble and a part of our lives for ten years, he just got old.  Much missed.

They will follow

My eldest has recently taken an interest in sewing.  At six and a half I figured he had the patience to have a go.  I remember having a sewing kit for my seventh birthday from my grandparents.  My Mum recounts the tale of being encouraged to sew on my Brownie badges and sewing through the sleeve of my uniform so I couldn't put it on!

So this is his second project.  I thought we were making a purse but no, it's a purse-on.  I love it....I hope he gets the bug.  It was lovely to watch him concentrate calmly on the task in hand, and see the pride he had when his person was completed.

I read this today and it made me realise I need to make more time to read, make and just be as an example to my chaps.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Private view

'On the turn' ink, collage and stitch

I had a wonderful evening at the private view of 'Patterned Presence' last Thursday.  I sold far more than I ever expected to and received some wonderful compliments.  I haven't come down from cloud nine yet!

Took my breath away

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Setting up

Helen Rhodes

Josephine Gommersall

Sue Vanderplank

Here's Helen and Sue setting up the exhibition.  And a million thanks to Josephine for helping me set up.  I couldn't have done it without handy with a drill and very calm and collected!

Pulled it off!

Well, here it is.  The piece I had every intention of finishing for the exhibition but seemed more and more unlikely.  I've wanted to put my work on to furniture all year and I am delighted with this.  It's lined with beautiful bookbinding paper.  It is officially a blanket box but would make an equally good sideboard or hall table.  It now takes pride of place in my exhibition at Sock Gallery Loughborough which I set up on Tuesday.  There were tears and tantrums but I did it!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Folksy shop

I've updated my folksy shop and these pieces are now available as limited edition prints.

Working weekend

I've been down to the studio at the bottom of the garden to put the heating on. It's the first morning that I've really felt the chill in the air.  It's a peaceful space despite all the mess! I'm preparing myself for a busy few days as I finish getting everything ready for my exhibition, 'Patterned Presence' at Sock Gallery, Loughborough.  We set up on Tuesday, ready for the opening on Wednesday.

I'd like to say that I am calm, but I am not!  I have framing to finish, prints to mount and wrap.  I need to check the inventory, and I still have pieces to stitch and my 'Wow' piece to start and finish!  Now there's an admission!  Still, if it doesn't work out, maybe no one need ever know......

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Sunday at the Holmfirth Art Market was bustling with people enthusiastic about buying work and enjoying the creative buzz. My new print range was well received and cards and ceramics sold well.  The very talented ceramicist Karen Howarth, won best stall and with her winnings she bought the piece above, 'Hamlet'.  It's a part of the Yorkshire series that I have been working on and I'm very happy that it will live in Yorkshire.

I had a lot of interest in my workshops, and for those of you who were asking, all the details are now on my website.

Yesterday I was exhausted!  But the enthusiastic response I had to my work is all I need to get me through the last stages of preparations for my exhibition at Sock, Loughborough.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Simple pleasures

I'm hanging on to Autumn as Winter creeps in.  It gave me great pleasure today to treat myself to a beautiful bunch of dahlias.  What simple pleasure will cheer up your Friday?

Have a lovely weekend.  Hope to see you at the Holmfirth Art Market on Sunday.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

New work


'home' detail

'love' detail


I have just put these into my folksy shop.  They are a limited edition print (a run of 250), that I have stitched onto, making each unique.  The print quality is amazing and captures all the detail of the original collage with a 12 colour print process onto textured German paper.  They each measure 29 x 29 cm and come in a 50 x 50 cm mount ready for framing.  Perfect for all you lovebirds and home makers!

Getting Ready

I'm getting ready for Holmfirth Art Market on Sunday. Just stitched a batch of business cards. Waiting in for Christmas cards to arrive from the printers. Ceramics in the kiln. Logo being printed onto cloth for my stand. Everything coming together nicely.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Autumn Colour

It's so dark!  I'm stitching work for my exhibition and can barely see!  So grey.  Cheered up by this picture from the Anthropologie catalogue.  Lovely rich colour.  Have been getting out the quilts and blankets and cosying up.  I love the painted bowls here.  Makes me want to splash some colour about.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Mark Hearld

In my mind, Mark Hearld can do no wrong.  I love this film where he talks about his work.

Friday, 4 November 2011

My Essential Kit

The lovely Emily at Folksy has featured me this week for the My Essential Kit feature.  Have a look!

Helen Hallows creates original artwork using ink, collage and stitch, “I aim to capture fleeting moments that catch my eye”. Helens collection includes artwork, coasters, bunting, greetings cards, and porcelain homewares. With such a range of products what on earth is in her essential tool kit?
1. Stretching tape. I work on watercolour or pastel papers with ink washes so I always use stretching tape to keep the paper flat.
Inks. I love the little bottles of pure colour lined up in my studio. They give an intense, permanent colour.
2. I apply the inks with a brush or Chinese calligraphy bamboo pen.
3. I collect vintage papers: old book pages, endpapers and book jackets, sheet music, vintage wrapping paper and wallpaper. I supplement these with book binding papers, scrapbooking papers and paper that I’ve painted or drawn on myself.
4. My trusty Elna sewing machine. Called a ‘Quilter’s Dream’ it suffers me forcing it to sew through paper and stitch freely. I’ve had it for fifteen years and it’s never caused me any trouble. (Of course, I’ve just given it the kiss of death!)
5. Cottons. Something else for me to search out when I’m in junk shops and at carboot sales. I have hundreds of them and love the gradations of hue and shade. I have them in an old set of tool drawers with a drawer for each colour.
My letterpress H stamp. I finish each piece with my makers’ mark, a HH stamped with this letterpress letter. I have only one and it sometimes goes astray which fills me with panic.
6. My ‘Helen Hallows’ stamp. This features on the back of all my original artworks and as a transfer onto the bottom of my ceramics. I stamp my bags with it at fairs, and it’s on my blog, website, business card and all correspondence. I’m even thinking of getting it tattooed!!
You can have a right old nosey around Helens Folksy shop here Helen Hallows. She is also exhibiting at The Sock Galleryin Loughborough from 30th November – 15th January 2012.
If you have an essential crafting kit you’d like to share please send it
Kit photograph ©Lyndsey James Photography 2011.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Grayson Perry

If you missed 'Imagine' earlier this week and its exploration of Grayson Perry's work and creative process and inspirations, you can watch it again here.  Really inspiring.

Leek College

I've been meaning to post some images of Leek College.  I had the pleasure of running a one day workshop with the students on the foundation degree there at the end of September.  It was a productive and enjoyable day.  Not least because of the amazing building in which the college is housed.  The Nicholson Institute was built by the silk mill owner in  the town as a college in which to train his workers.  The wonderful art rooms were used to train the workers for the town's textile mills.  There was a real sense of purpose to the building and the air was heavy with the ghosts of past students, not least the very real skeleton that hung in the corner closet (yes really!).  The 'life drawing' room houses some beautiful plasters from which students past and present can draw.  The Arts and Crafts fabric of the building included a hand painted quote from the dramatist, scientist poet and writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

'One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable worlds.'

The whole building would make a delightful museum but makes an even more delightful, alive space in which to create.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Anyone whose work combines trees and cups goes straight to the top of my covet-list.  So I eagerly await the next edition of Selvedge magazine and its feature on the beautiful work of Anne Smith.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Blog posts are like buses....none for ages then three at once!


Life has loomed large these last few weeks and I've had to run at it and meet it head on.  Of course that meant I ended up ill!  Half term arrived more quickly than expected, and a realisation that my exhibition at the Sock Gallery is just around the corner.  I've been a bit like a rabbit in the headlights but I've managed to pull myself together.

Here's a Christmas card design I've just finished.  I just hope it arrives back from the printers before I head off to the Holmfirth Art Market on November 13th.

Carnival of Monsters

At the start of half term we visited the wonderful 'Carnival of Monsters' exhibition held at the Barton bus station at Beeston.  There was some really dynamic, well crafted art exhibited in a great urban venue.  The building interacted with the art and the juxtapositions of the functional and historical against the art works intrigued me as much as the works themselves.  Light worked its way through decayed parts of the building casting dynamic shadows.  My annual autumnal obsession with the circle has reared its head again...why is that?  I think it's because the moon becomes more visible again.  Anyway, circle motifs abounded.

'Life'  Richard Stephens

'Cathedral-Northern Transept' Mark Chapman

Frank Kent

Monday, 17 October 2011


This picture postcard of Whitby just arrived....and as if by magic the scanner works.  Lovely.


I seem to be technically challenged and time challenged at the moment.  My photos seem to be stuck in my camera and I can't get them into the computer and I can't get the new scanner to work!  In the mean time, I've popped up on the Holmfirth Art Market blog, so have a read.

This week I've got drop offs at a few galleries with stock for Christmas and I'll hopefully get some studio time in amongst swimming, Harvest Festival, tea parties, play dates and a much needed massage booked at the end of the week....bliss!

I've updated my stockists list and I'm really pleased to now have work at Trattles and Gaell Fine Art in Whitby and the Ferrers Gallery near Ashby de la Zouch.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Peter Swanson Pottery

Today, I had the great pleasure of being introduced to Peter Swanson's pottery.  I dropped off some work at the Thoresby Gallery, and the work was being set up for an exhibition that starts tomorrow and runs until the 16th of October.  The work looked so elegant in the well lit space, the glazes are magnificent.  The Cornish potter uses ash glazes, influenced by Japanese techniques.  His pots included teapots and tea bowls for a Japanese tea ceremony.  Peter has definitely made his peace with the Kiln God.  The pieces were magnificent.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Joining the dots

I was emailed the link to this address by Steve Jobs.  The coverage of his death today across all media demonstrates his achievements and how his life touched so many others.  He was visionary with his ambitions for Apple and Pixar.  Mostly I'm touched by his egalitarian views and his wish to create beauty in all he did.

Lots of days I wonder why I am walking the path I am, why I am foolish enough to go it alone.  Having children taught me to listen to my own voice and trust my instincts and in doing that I've ended up doing what I do!

Anyway, watch is short.  All we have is our own path to tread.  Steve Jobs...inspiring.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Jaume Plensa at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Nuria and Irma 2010

Today I made my first visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the company of sixty six year olds (that's sixty small children not a group of older persons!). I was helping out on a school trip and it was great to see the works through their eyes. The temporary exhibition was the work of Jaume Plensa. An artist I hadn't heard of before; his work sat beautifully in the park setting. In the inside space were his sculpted alabaster heads that had such a calming effect on all who entered the room. His wall mounted 'Speak no evil', 'Hear no evil', 'Say no evil', cast you as the fallen angel, the one weighted to the floor by the weight of the world, or perhaps the one who is light and free, looking down at the 'floor' that was the 'wall'. Plensa's works seem to levitate and transport you, he manages to sculpt souls and engage the viewer in a meditation on mind, body and soul. Beautiful. I can't wait to go back, hopefully to see the works glistening in the Autumn sunshine as they were today.

Speak no evil, Hear no evil  2010
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