Helen works as an illuminator, using the techniques of gilding found in medieval manuscript decoration, and as a ceramicist, making earthenware tiles and coasters.
Illumination is the use of gold, or other metal, in leaf or powder form. Helen often incorporates tiny jewels such as amethysts, sapphires, pearls and garnets to add a medieval richness to her work, which is usually on Kelmscott vellum.
Helen usually works on a small scale. She is inspired by the beauty and inventiveness of medieval design which also includes symbolism in the forms used. The principles and practice of geometry are an important part of Helen's work. Medieval craftsmen saw geometry as a reflection of the beauty of Divine order in Creation. Indeed, geometry underpins creation from the tiniest flower to the movement of the planets. The patterns of traditional art reflect nature and are underpinned by the same geometry that is the basis of the natural world.
Helen has recently published her first book, ‘A Place of Grace’, in which she presents twelve ‘illuminated meditations’: gilded paintings accompanied by contemplations on Bible verses, the symbolism used in the paintings and the blessings of Christian faith. At St. Dunstan's in 2022, Helen will be exhibiting the illuminations, along with ceramic coasters.
Helen studied for a Masters Degree in Traditional Arts at The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts, where she teaches Illumination.