Fellow Folksy and Etsy artist, Helen Hallows, creates wonderful pieces of artwork via different mediums including textiles, collage and ink. Helen uses her designs on a variety of products, but recently launched a range of ceramics, including ceramic tiles that can be brought from her Folksy and Etsy shops. Life for Helen is in the Midlands with her husband, cats, chickens and an angry African snail called One Eye Willy !
What is your background?
I did a degree in Woven Textiles at Loughborough College of Art and
Design. After that I worked in a home boutique whilst building a
commercial portfolio. I freelanced through an agent, creating
embroidered and appliqued designs for home and fashion clients. I
didn't use computers at all so it was a bit of a shock, when my agent
closed her business, to realise that everyone had gone digital! So,
I've been catching up.
What mediums do you work with?
I create original artworks in ink, collage and stitch. This style
developed on from working in applique with fabrics. I did some card
designs with layered papers and really liked the added stitch
element. I also work digitally for the greetings card industry. I
still use collage though, scanning and manipulating them in
Photoshop. More recently, I've launched a ceramics range with my
artwork on. I don't make the ceramics, but I do apply the transfers
by hand and have had to come to terms with kilns.
What other work do you do?
I work pretty much full time, balancing design work, creating
original artworks and commissions, and getting my ceramics ready for
exhibitions and shows.
How do you market yourself?
Marketing myself doesn't come naturally, having an agent is great as
he sells the designs for me. Selling my work to galleries and at
fairs has become easier; I find it easier to tell strangers what I'm
up to than friends! I use online networking, Facebook and Linkedin
and my blog. I've recently discovered Derbyshire Arts, they have a
listings website. Mostly though I hope people see the work and fall
in love with it. I've also started doing workshops (one coming up on
March 13th in Bolsover), which is a great way of promoting and
sharing what I do. I have just become an Associate Member of Design
Factory who are great at sharing marketing opportunities.
Where do you sell and exhibit?
I have work in four galleries, The Beetroot Tree in Draycott, Beans
Coffee Shop Gallery in Bolsover, Thoresby Gallery in Ollerton and
Opus Gallery in Ashbourne. I've got a solo exhibition at the Opus
Gallery during April. I also sell at Makers' Markets and festivals
(see my blog for details). Folksy and Etsy mean I can sell securely
I've come along way in a short time, it's only eighteen months since
I started doing my own personal artwork whilst at home with my second
baby. It's time for me to decide what is working successfully for
me. I enjoy selling at the art fairs and makers' markets, and this
year I'm hoping to take part in art festivals at Wirksworth and
Who are your heroes?
Vanessa Bell of Bloomsbury and Omega fame for her breadth of
creativity and bohemian lifestyle. Frida Kahlo, for her strength and
creativity in the face of such pain, and for wearing that eyebrow so
If you could steal one piece from a gallery what would it be?
It would have to be a Picasso. He lived and breathed creativity with
every pore of his body. But which one would I steal? I love the
sensual way he depicted women, perhaps 'Femme nue allongee' 1955,
because it’s a collage.
What books and blogs can't you live without?
Brave on the Rocks - Sabrina Ward Harrison....I find her work really inspiring. It's eclectic and personal and inspired me to use collage and expressive mark.
Bloomsbury Rooms- Christopher Reed.....Beautiful interiors. I always want to paint the walls, doors and furniture when I look at this book
Signs and Symbols - Maud Wahlman....Practical and beautiful quilts made from scraps of nothing by African American quilters. Inspires me to re-use and recycle and see the worth and beauty of cloth.
Print Pattern for design inspiration http://printpattern.blogspot.com/
Pia Jane Bijkerk for beautiful images http://blog.piajanebijkerk.com/WordPress/