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

Monday, 26 September 2011

Designing for Ceramic Transfers Workshop

Yesterday I spent the day at Beans Coffee Shop Gallery teaching a workshop on 'Designing for Ceramic Transfers'. The lovely ladies created a square piece of art using the same techniques of ink, collage and stitch that I use in my work. Some used imagery of a place, some illustrated a saying, one lady produced a piece to celebrate her long lived dog Queenie. Having demonstrated the techniques involved in turning artwork into ceramic transfers and how to apply them, it is now my task to turn their artwork into transfers and apply them to tiles so that they will then receive a decorative tile featuring their own art work.

It's a busy couple of weeks for me. On Thursday I'm teaching on the foundation degree at Leek College of FE and on Saturday I'll be doing a demonstration of my work at the launch of the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. Next week I've another ceramics workshop and a 'Recording Memories' workshop. I've got one place left if you know anyone who would like to come.

I'll let you know how it all goes....I've STILL got pictures of my summer holidays to share!  Good job we're having a second summer....it'll give me a chance to catch up.

Saturday, 24 September 2011


This is my favourite picture from my recent photo shoot.  I had the pictures taken so that I can put together a pack about my work for galleries.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Now available

My new range of art cards are now available in my Folksy shop. Taken from my British Landscapes series, they are beautifully printed on high quality textured card with a lovely crisp white envelope.  Available as this set of six and this set of four.

Summer Snapshot

Found this one in my camera.

Monday, 19 September 2011

I did it!

Wow!  What a weekend! The festival art trail saw nearly two thousand visitors on Saturday and nigh on the same on Sunday. The weather was kind and the people kinder still!  My hosts, the Kerr family, kept Josephine and I topped up with coffee and good wishes. Thank you to them for letting me take over their lovely cottage for the weekend. Thanks too to everyone who booked a place on my course for Saturday 8th October. There is now only one place left, so let me know if you're interested. If you miss out this time I can add you to my mailing list for future workshops.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

New work for Melbourne Festival

Yesterday I decamped to Melbourne, Derbyshire for the weekend. I spent the day setting up my exhibition, a luxury in contrast to the normal scramble to getting things ready for a one day event.  This morning I've woken to relentless rain but live in hope of it brightening up for the start of the art trail in three hours time.  It's been a busy week packaging my new card range, getting tiles fired and packed, finishing work, framing, wrapping prints, labelling and pricing.  I'm relieved that it's all done and looking forward to sharing it all with the visitors to Melbourne Festival.  The festival receives no public funding and it's future is under threat so please come along and join in the trail.

Here are my new pieces that are on show at Melbourne for the first time:

Hamlet £160

Red Harvest £160

The moon rose over an open field £275

Journey £275

Three Trees £250

To the Rookery £375

Valley Deep £495  SOLD

I'm also launching my new range of limited edition giclee prints this weekend.  The following pieces are available in editions of fifty.  Valley deep is available in two sizes:

To the Rookery 23cm x 76cm  £105

Valley Deep 39 x 49 cm £105  29 x 39 £70

Daybreak 17cm x 43 cm  £50

Sunshine 23cm x 76 cm £105

Looking forward to seeing you over the weekend.  Please bring some sunshine.  Doors close Sunday evening at 5pm. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Eleri Mills

I've just discovered the work of Welsh artist Eleri Mills.  I love her lyrical landscapes.  like me she stitches in to her work, for her by hand where as I machine.  I read that she makes no distinction between fine art and fibre art.  I wonder what she calls it though?  I struggle to name mine.  With it being a fusion of art and craft, I feel strange calling my work 'art'.  I often refer to 'framed pieces' to get around the fact that they are not paintings but ink with collage and stitch.  I also call myself a 'textile designer' having come that route though I no longer design textiles.  I need a label! How about 'Craftist'? There's still such snobbery between 'high' art and 'low' craft.  I feel I straddle both. Anybody got any suggestions. Helen Hallows ................... (polite answers only please!)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Josephine O'Leary

I found out today that I'll be sharing my venue at the Melbourne Festival this weekend with jeweller Josephine O'Leary.  Looking forward to meeting her and having a good event.

ps....have I mentioned yet that I'll be at the Melbourne Festival?!!!

Busy, busy!

It's a really busy week ahead of the Melbourne Festival at the weekend.  Yesterday I had an inspiring day on the 'Marketing for Makers' course run by gallery owner Rachael Chambers at the Ferrers Gallery.  It's given me a huge dose of confidence in finding new markets for my work.  Hot on the heels of that, I've just spent the morning with Lyndsey from Lyndsey James Photography who came to do a photo shoot in my home and studio.  It was great fun styling different areas for interior shots.  I'll let you know when they're uploaded to my website.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Face of the Artist

I love this portrait of Barbara Hepworth by John Hedgecoe, really arresting.  It's called 'Dame Barbara Hepworth in her familiar fur coat'.  She looks large and amorphic, just like her sculptures.  It's part of an exhibition called 'The Face of the Artist' currently showing at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art.  It's on until the 4th of December.

Why I love Autumn

I never thought I'd grow up to be interested in ploughing! This image comes from the latest Country Living magazine.  It reminded me of all that I look forward to at this time of year:

  • Fields of cut corn as far as the eye can see
  • A crispness in the morning air
  • The first fire of the season.....yet to come but just around the corner
  • Produce from the allotment: pumpkins, cobnuts, apples, beans and more beans
  • Layering up the sofa with blankets and cushions ready for some cosy reading with a pile of boys
  • Crumpets and honey for Sunday tea
Have a great weekend.  We're off to Wirksworth for the Festival to catch up with friends old and new: Terry Davies, Michelle Neale, Sue Vanderplank, Stevie Davies, Heather Dewick, Justine Nettleton.  Good luck everyone!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Health and sanity

Health and sanity are returning after the endurance test that was the Summer Holidays!  Routine and a touch of normality has been restored in the Hallows household and we now have peaceful mornings as little chap has started pre-school.  I'm working my way through lists and more lists as I prepare for the Melbourne Festival on 17th/18th September.  And do you know what?  I might just be winning.

Today I sent off a stack of my new cards to the National Centre for Craft and Design, ready for their relaunch on October 1st.  I'll be there on relaunch day demonstrating my work so please come along.

On 1st October 2011, The Hub in Sleaford, Lincolnshire will open its doors as The National Centre for Craft & Design. The Hub was established as a centre for craft, design and making in 2003.  Over the past eight years, The Hub has developed a strong reputation within the national museum and gallery sector as a unique and ambitious gallery that exhibits the most innovative, challenging and accomplished artists practicing within the craft and design arena today.

With three exciting exhibition spaces, including the largest main gallery space in England, a roof top gallery and a vibrant window space it has certainly earned its new title: The National Centre for Craft & Design.

Tailored around each exhibition there’s something for everyone to learn and enjoy through a lively public programme of talks, workshops, conferences, clubs, groups, activities, lectures, seminars, screenings, short-courses, and demonstration days.

The tempting retail space now sells an inspirational collection of contemporary craft and design products to suit all pockets and the delectable café is a popular haven for local families and business people seeking a creative respite.

The National Centre for Craft & Design really is ‘home’ to the very best designer/makers in craft practice today.

Help celebrate as they unveil exciting new developments at The National Centre for Craft & Design this October! Experience the brand new graphic identity, and indulge in the stunning new Retail offer.  Visitors are also invited to step into the new Learning Zone and ExChange Space for the very first time.

Enjoy exhibitions, craft demonstrations, free family fun workshops all taking place from 2 - 4pm, as well as delicious Lincolnshire treats from the riverside café.

I also set up a showcase of my work this week at the Atkins Building in Hinckley.  There too you can enjoy the cafe, gallery space and artists showcases.

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