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Helen Beard: A Sense of Place

19th June - 19th July 2020

"The exhibition, a collection of stories on clay and paper, maps out the local landscape from which I make my observations."

"Most of this work has been created during the recent months of lockdown while our city life has been turned upside down. Working from my archive of sketchbooks, it has felt surreal to illustrate scenes of bustling markets and swimmers at the ponds. They still hold an important presence in the show portraying the familiar 'sense of place', we know and love."

"In contrast there is a slower pace of life portrayed through other works. I've noticed the change in mood and it's definitely fed in to my pieces. The quiet occupation of visiting an allotment appears as a frequent theme and trees dominate the urban landscape. People are out walking but in solitude and there is even a bowl depicting one of the bathing ponds on the Heath, still and sombre without any swimmers - I had to include it, it is real and we are all living through it, each with our own story to tell."

With schools closed for the last 3 months, Helen has been at home with her 3 children of primary school age, home-schooling in the day and working on her ceramics at night.

"Filling our space with Helen’s fresh and often humorous observations, ‘A Sense of Place’ is a celebration of what makes a place. All captured on porcelain and paper, from the architecture to the characters that live there - something perhaps we have all been missing over the last two months. While Londoners will find pleasure in moments of recognition, this is a collection that everyone will be able to connect with - moments of stopping to watch the world go by at its very best." Claire Pearce, Gallery Director

Helen fell in love with clay whilst she was at the Edinburgh College of Art (1998-2001) after which she worked as an apprentice to celebrated potter and writer Edmund de Waal. Going on to set up her own studio in 2004, she is now based in Islington, London, and takes much inspiration from the life around her. Her highly collected work has been exhibited internationally.


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