Women Who Create / Helen Hallows

Welcome to this weeks instalment of Women Who Create Things. This week I am happy to introduce you to artist/designer and one of my newest creative peers Helen Hallows. Helen’s work is full of texture, tone and the richness of nature and her no nonsense business practice & advice are extremely refreshing! Her gorgeous home garden studio is a trove of inspiration… take a look for yourself.

Tell us a little about your background… 

I trained in textile design at Loughborough College of Art and Design before working freelance for an agent who sold my designs internationally. I created embroidered and appliqué designs for home wares, bedding, ladies and children’s fashion and stationery. My agent closed her business around the time that I started my family. My creativity went out the window as soon as I had little people in my life and it took me a while to find it again. I did some greetings card designs for a Nottingham based agent but really missed creating handmade, crafted work. I started to create some personal work based around family memories and out of this grew some work about memories of places, and captured moments. I used a mixed media approach with paint and paper and stitched into them, much as I had my appliqué designs. Fast forward seven years, and now I create framed artworks that I sell at art fairs, I run workshops and art holidays to share my ideas and techniques and I license my art for cards and prints as well as selling my own range of limited edition prints and products through my website www.helenhallows.com

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

In the last two years I have been exploring the process of creativity and how to sustain creativity after hitting a period of creative block for the first time in my life. I’ve learnt to keep a notebook/log book/journal of my life that keeps me centred and my creativity flowing. It swings between shopping lists, to-do lists, sketches, doodles, scrapbook and a place to let everything out and pour my heart out. I wrote about my creativity and overcoming obstacles to creative flow and from the writings I recorded a spoken word CD called’I am Nature – creative visualisations for working with nature as inspiration’ to help others find flow on their creative journey.

What two things can’t you live without?

Ooh, good question. My notebook/journal and sunshine!

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

Nature…everything I do comes from nature. I feel very much in tune with the seasons, a time to grow, a time to rest. I’m most inspired in the summer…I really do need the sunshine to thrive.

What is the meaning of creativity to you?

Working from the soul, Making from the heart. Becoming an expert at a technique. My work falls in the gap between art and craft, art because it is framed, craft because it is stitched into. I dislike the delineation and wish there was a word for ‘creating something with passion’.

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?

I’d love to create some large scale tapestries. I’ve dabbled in tapestry weaving before but it’s a long and skilled process. I’d love to collaborate with an established weaver.

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

My sewing machine. Sewing is rooted in me. I use the sewing machine to draw into my work. I don’t think I could let that go.

What is the best thing about running your business?

The best thing is the variety and being able to create a new project or decide to try a different way of doing things. I love running a creative business because I can be creative in how I run it. I meet such like minded souls too, through art events and at my workshops.

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

In 2011 I had an exhibition at Sock Gallery in Loughborough. I had just started selling my landscape work and it was my first exhibition so I didn’t know what to expect. The night of the private view I arrived and people were buying my work, red dots appearing left, right and centre! I felt that I had stepped into being who I wanted to be.

Find more from Helen on her website or book a wonderful workshop and find your own inspiration x

interviewsAmy Phipps