Helen Hallows, artist

HH%20Cold%20SkyIf you mention the name of Helen Hallows to one of her fellow artists you’ll be met by a look of admiration followed by words such as organised, disciplined, enterprising and energetic.

She is, I am told, the quintessential businesswoman working from a perfect studio at the end of her garden.

On her lively regularly-updated blog she describes herself as an artist, designer, mother, gardener, realist and dreamer who is striving for creative happiness and domestic bliss.

Faced with that sort of description I have to be honest and say that on my arrival at her Long Eaton home, a little late and flustered, I was on the look out for a flaw or two to make my less-than-perfect self feel a little better – but as you have probably already guessed I couldn’t find any.

Just like everyone else I liked Helen in an instant and after an hour in her company I too was in awe of her business acumen.

She has two boys, a husband, a cat, two goldfish and four bossy chickens as well as an allotment to take care of and yet she still finds time to create sought after artworks in ink, paint, collage and stitch.

The work captures the flow of nature and is inspired by the seasons and as it is autumn when I visit, there are bits and bobs everywhere reflecting the mellow yellows and rich golden browns of the leaves and berries.

“I capture an image in my head, sometimes aided by pencil sketches and colour notes, but never a photograph and then in the studio I play with layers of media. I express myself with ink and paint and then add a patchwork of vintage, repurposed and painted papers before fusing all of them with stitch on the machine,” she explained while showing me a piece of her framed work.

In her studio, which is supremely organised, Helen is working on a new original painting as well as extending her brand to ceramics in the shape of vases and tiles.

On one desk she is preparing an autumn mood board that she will photograph and use for promotions.

“I have a creative brain which is not satisfied with doing one thing. It is just fizzing with lots of ideas and I enjoy developing them and building the business.

“I want to keep my work alive for the people who like it and offer them something else other than just the originals. My aim is to also reach a wider audience with the prints, cards and ceramics.”

Helen is a stickler for quality and spends a lot of time perfecting her website, blog and her brand. The ceramics, which are now embellished with digital transfers of her artwork, took a while to source and she swears by the framing of mobile framer Sarah Jennings.

Looking back she reckons it was her mother who encouraged her entrepreneurial tendencies and paved the way for her business brain.

“I was always creative but my mum wanted me to be an engineer as she felt being an artist would be too tough. Consequently I did physics, maths and English at A Level and then textile design at Loughborough.

“I think that all helped me in ways I didn’t realise at the time but I am grateful that I did it that way.

“At the end of the day though I am very much a home bod and what I really love is seeing people get that connection to nature that I am trying to create.”

Go to http://www.helenhallows.com to see more of her work and find a link to her blog.

Her work can currently be seen at Gallerytop, Rowsley as part of the Christmas exhibition until January 11, Ferrers Gallery, Staunton Harold, Beans Gallery, Bolsover and at the Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton on Trent until January 1.