Throughout history and from one culture to another, the use and ownership of specific materials made into objects has indicated power, status, wealth, gender and is the foundation of economy. Each material resonates, speaks, and holds meaning and significance. Helen's practice based research highlights material resonance in the production of art and craft, referring to site, heritage and culture. Helen is one of a select group of artists who worked on an 18-month Maker Engagement Project. During this time she visited project partners in Hungary, explored collections at the National Museet in Denmark, and accompanied archaeologists on visits to Bronze Age collections and archaological digs.
Helen has contributed to knowledge exchange between archaeologists and contemporary craftspeople, using practice-based research to provide insights into the tools, processes and the inherent creativity in Bronze Age ceramics. Her research includes an investigation into the use of Gabbroic clay (a type of clay found on the Lizard peninsula) in contemporary ceramic work, including observation of and practical engagement with the material, location and environment.
Forging lasting links with researchers and craftspeople across Europe, Helen continues to collaborate and develop research activity in this field. Her interdisciplinary engagement with the humanities fuels continued pedagogic research, which examines resonance as an aspect invested in every material/artefact. It has become clear that in her own teaching of process and the mapping of a creative cycle, this notion can underline resonance as a pedagogic threshold concept, investigating the idea that learning and creativity go beyond any reductive notion of a qualification.
A series of papers documenting her research findings, include 'The Mind of the Maker' at the theoretical archaeological group conference in 2015. 'The Resonance of Gabbroic Clay in Contemporary Ceramic Works', presented at conference at Southampton University, 'Resonant Objects: Inextricable and Inevitable' at conference at Magdalene College, Cambridge, Material Resonance & Site Specificty at the European Ceramic Context: The Values of Matter & Making at the Danish Academy School of Design Bornholm, Denmark: Art, Aesthetics and Function: Collaborative Approaches to Everyday Objects, British Museum.
Helen is currently working towards a practice based interdisciplinary PhD examining the communication of archaeology through digital craft reinterpretations. Examining archaeological material and mapping of local legacy at the site known as Tremough in Penryn, Cornwall, specifically looking at how the qualities in archaeological material might be represented and reinterpreted over time and according to the culture inhabiting the space.