Helaina Sharpley

This week we welcomed Helaina to talk to us.

Helaina is a local girl (based in Mirfield) and has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally with a studio based at the West Yorkshire Print Workshop in Mirfield.  She started her journey studying for a BA in Design Crafts at Hereford College of Art & Design.  Her illustrations turned into wireworks after a college lecturer placed some wire into her hands because he wanted Helaina to make something in 3D and she just kept drawing!

Helaina has a particular interest in all things tea-time and Edwardian. You will find beautiful teacups and saucers with intricate detail, ‘twiddly’ lampposts and detailed architecture amongst her pieces.

Helena started drawing with sepia ink, reminiscent of the history she is interested in. As a consequence, she chose iron wire to work with. Iron is basically black, but comes with patches of patina and colour which she finds more in tune with the sepia ink her drawings are made with.

Helaina is a girl who loves to wear colour, but her pieces a devoid of colour. She discussed the distraction colour brings to form, and that in removing colour from an artwork, your eye can delight in the form, shape and design. Her pieces are mounted onto wood blocks, with holes drilled for the risers. In strong light, the pieces create shadows which can be exploited. Helaina’s dad makes her blocks, and her mum sands them down for her.

Helaina talked to us of her smaller pieces, such as those with bicycles, stamps and flowers, and the larger commissions up to a metre across. The larger pieces are often architectural commissions for galleries and homes.

Faces have proved a challenge to translate into wire line but Helena has found a balance in her smaller pieces of folk on bicycles where a simple outline works very well.

Helaina would be grateful for any photos of particularly twiddly lampposts from your travels.

Helaina is three times winner of ‘The Wow Factor’ at the British Craft Trade Fair.  Hockney owns two pieces of Helaina’s collection.  

You can check out her fabulous work at her website: www.helainasharpley-wirework-artist.co.uk.  Or on Instagram at #helainasharpley

On Sunday, we enjoyed a workshop together. Here are some of the images from the day:

Work was mounted using wire into foam-board,

And a couple of us realised how delicious shadows could be when we got home!

Thank you, Helaina, for a great day!

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