Swimmer Hut Set | By Helen Beard
Wheel-thrown and hand-painted porcelain pots with hand-built and hand-painted hut and ladder
Swimmer Hut: H. 9.5 x w. 9.5 x d. 5 cm
Ladder: H. 11.5 x w. 3.5 x d. 5 cm
Swimmers Pots: H. 7.6 x dia. 6 cm each
From the solo exhibition 'A Sense of Place' (19th June - 15th 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 updside 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.
About the Maker
'My ceramic work combines my sketches and observations of our everyday lives with a simple and fresh domestic pot. Looking at people, their actions and their surroundings, I illustrate the funny things from the way we live that bring humour and joy. Using my pots as a canvas, I boldly draw directly onto the white porcelain clay body. The forms and illustrations are sympathetic to each other, both with a nature that is slightly naïve. Each pot has a character of its own, some are whimsical, some cheeky and some are nostalgic, each telling their individual narrative.'
Helen studied at Edinburgh College of Art (1998-2001). Following college she worked as an apprentice within the studio of Edmund de Waal before setting up her own studio 18 months later. Her highly collected work has been exhibited internationally.
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