Helen was born in Bury, Lancashire. The seeds of a lifetime’s obsession were sown when her Scottish mother taught her to knit and sew at the age of seven, and growing up in a textile-based town and household fostered a passion for all aspects of fabrics and yarns.
Helen studied Classics at Liverpool University then moved to London where she married in 1983. In 1986 Helen and her husband returned to Liverpool, and after having two children she completed her City and Guild Part II Creative Studies in Knitwear at Huddersfield Technical College, commuting once a week from Liverpool.
Helen is a designer/maker drawing on the traditions of the craft community. She makes scarves, throws, cushions and smaller items such as lavender bags. The scarves are made using velvets, tweeds, silks and Liberty Tana Lawn. Her skinny scarves launched in 2010 won Highly Commended in the Best Product category at the Scottish Trade Show January 2011 and since then Helen has added a Harris Tweed Collection to this range.
The inspiration for Helen’s work is the use of colour, often the juxtaposition of colours not usually put together. She gets lots of inspiration when she is sourcing new fabrics. One of her favourite periods in history, literature and music is the 1920s and 1930s and some of her colourways, particularly in her velvet scarf range, reflect period themes.
In May 2012 Helen was invited to take part in Handmade in Britain’s show, London A Celebration at the Oxo Galleries in London. For this she launched a new collection called City on Cloth. City on Cloth is digitally printed fabrics, featuring old maps, which is then transformed into scarves and smaller items. In June 2012 Helen then collaborated with the British Museum and the result was a scarf using one of the maps of London from their collection. The City on Cloth collection is partly a result of her love of maps and a lifelong habit of acquiring books, backed with Harris Tweed. An unsurpassed combination of sartorial elegance and historical interest – take your scarf on an urban walk and explore the difference – a thoroughly British Product.
Due to their success more City on Cloth scarves were launched in May 2014, using different maps and colours, and then later last year Helen added a range of ties and bow ties to this City on Cloth collection. Helen has also designed for Tate Britain, Museum of London, the British Museum and Kew Gardens.
Helen is a member of Handmade in Britain, and was asked by them to design a map scarf collection for a show which they take part in with Handmade Interiors, Vivre Cote de Sud in the South of France in May 2015. She is delighted with her new collection featuring map scarves of Paris, Nice, Arles, Marseilles, Lyons, Aix and Avignon.
Recently Helen has forged links with a Tweed Mill in the Scottish Borders, A Elliot & Sons, Selkirk and has started to commission tweeds to her own colours. Helen also uses tweeds from Jamieson’s Mill, Sandness, Shetland. She was delighted to find this tweed as she has visited Shetland, and the mill several times. The tweed is soft and springy and has a beautiful drape, especially when combined with velvet. The colours are incredibly varied and rich and lend themselves to endless possibilities when matching velvets and Liberty Tana Lawns. Helen was especially delighted as her favourite type of knitting is Fair Isle, and in particular Jamieson’s of Shetland.
Everything is made from start to finish by Helen and her aim is that whoever buys one, has a one-off, hand crafted, well-made item, which will give pleasure for years to come. As well as being beautiful to look at Helen’s pieces are immensely practical and hard wearing.
In any spare time she has, Helen enjoys walking her dogs with her husband and children, reading, knitting, outdoor swimming and has recently taken up the violin.
A small selection of Helen’s silk scarves and lavender bags is now with us and shhhhh, when the weather starts to get cooler later this year (hopefully after a lovely long, warm summer) we will be stocking her fabulous tweed scarves…her tweed ties are now with us though gents! x