“I like to create artworks that make people smile! Helen Russel is a Designer-Maker who is predominantly inspired by the natural world, both the open spaces I enjoy and those places that I experience through books and film. Living in the beautiful Pennine hills there is always something to fire my imagination, from sheep in the front garden to the little birds at war with my neighbour’s big ginger cat. I get great enjoyment from imagining the secret goings on of these creatures and my wonderings often form the basis of my designs. On days when I can see nothing but cloud there are always books, documentaries and dreams! The illustrative elements of my work are undoubtedly inspired by a lifelong love of children’s books and films. My mission is to create a style that embraces this love but offers a contemporary, adult conclusion.
I make my own moulds and use slip casting or hand building techniques to create forms or sheets of clay that I can then shape and manipulate to create individual artworks. My love of the natural world is often represented through stylised illustrations or designs that are meticulously drawn, hand carved, painted or incised onto/into the basic form I’m working with. Some of my work is further enhanced through the use of glaze or surface finishes, and some pieces are vitrified to maintain the earthiness of the material. Ceramic is central to all my work but I like to explore its use alongside other materials. I find mixed media allows me to explore both imagined and real elements of the natural world.”