© Helen Beard

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Helen Beard

London, England

Artist Statement

I work primarily as a ceramicist, although my work also includes painting and illustration. Working with a Limoges porcelain I make a white ceramic form; this becomes the canvas onto which I apply an illustration. Each individual piece is thrown and turned on a potter’s wheel, and is then hand painted. To decorate, I use my own technique, developed to echo my pen and watercolour illustrations. I start by making a freehand sketch directly onto the porcelain, drawing through paper impregnated with underglaze, leaving a 'printed' image on the form. I then apply washes of colour using ceramic stains, finally dipping each piece in a glossy, transparent glaze before the final firing.

I use ‘Limoges’ porcelain because I like the organic qualities of the clay when fired. The form remains soft and the clay turns to a creamy white colour. The forms and illustrations complement each other; both are fluid and spontaneous.

Each individual pot is illustrated with a scene from the British way of life, including summer holidays to Europe and beyond. I draw characters, human and animal, and often play around with multiples of pots to tell a story across a series. I follow themes such as bathers in a lido, seaside scenes with hungry gulls, naïve coastal houses and simple fishing boats, or local shops and markets.

The pots are intended to be whimsical - some are cheeky and some nostalgic, some reveal a hidden or taken-for-granted piece of everyday life. For me, the humour is in the context: I enjoy taking domestic scenes, recording them onto pots and then putting them back into domestic situations.

Artist Biography

2003 Apprenticeship with Studio Potter, Edmund de Waal,
2001 1st class BA Design and Applied Arts: Ceramics, Edinburgh College of Art,
1998 Distinction B-tec Foundation Studies in Art and Design, Liverpool Art School (LJMU)

2015 UKTI Tap award to exhibit at Maison et Objet, Paris
2009 Crafted Mentee, Arts and Business and Walpole initiative sponsored by American Express
2007 Evening Standard, Homes and Property Award for Best Domestic Design
2006 UK Trade and Investment Award for Export, finalist
2005 Crafts Council Development Award
2003 Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Fellowship: award for international study of ceramics
2002 Sidney Myer International Ceramic Awards, short-listed (Australia)
2001 Andrew Grant Bequest, awarded scholarship for post graduate studies, Edinburgh College of Art
2001 Helen A. Rose bequest for distinctive work, Edinburgh College of Art

Fortnum and Mason, London
Ceramic Art London, CSM London
Maison et Objet, Paris
Chelsea Art Fair, London
Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead
Ceramics in the City, London
CraftKontor, Bonn Germany
Craft2eu, Hamburg, Germany
Blackwell the Arts and Crafts House, Cumbria
SOFA New York, with Joanna Bird Pottery

Ashes and Milk, Chicago USA

Handwerk Museum, Munich Germany

Ruthin Craft Centre, Wales

Joanna Bird Pottery, London
Decorex, Crafted stand (Arts and Business), London
Origin the London Craft Fair at Somerset House, London

CAA solo focus, Contemporary Applied Arts, London

Collect at the V&A Museum, London

CAA Covent Garden focus, Contemporary Applied Arts, London

City Art Centre, Edinburgh
Crafts Council at the V & A museum, London

Jo Malone London
National Gallery, London
Fortnum and Mason, London
Dovecot studios, Edinburgh
Twenty-nine piece dinner service, Private Collector
Arts and Business, Scotland Awards
Business in the Community, Scotland Awards Home House, London
Brighton and Hove Museum
Fifty-four piece installation for City Art Centre, Edinburgh
Broughton Gallery, Scotland

Brighton and Hove Museum
Edinburgh Museums and Galleries Trust
London Southwark Council
Fortnum and Mason, London
Donna Karan, New York
Egg, London
Wigglesworth Architects, London
Betty Davies Scottish Fashion International, Edinburgh



© Helen Beard

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