Helen's work is site responsive and focuses on human connections and the impermanence of place. Typically she works in outdoor remote locations, using the materials of place such as earth, water, chalk, charcoal. She is particularly interested in the ever-changing costal edges, which has led her to look further at ideas around environmental impermanence. Helen’s recent work has been exhibited in The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and Japan.
Skipsea Chair – Sussex Sea
My present research and interest is looking at the eroding coastline of Birling Gap on the south Sussex coast, with the possibility of creating a future piece which also links to the disappearing coastline of Skipsea in North Holderness.
I am interested in the disappearing and shifting coastal edgelands, particularly places which hold personal significance and memories.
As glaciers did, and the sea does, take and move geological materials, so the chalk that rose from the sea some 80 million years ago at Birling Gap is now, due to climate change, returning at an accelerated rate back to the sea.
Over two decades ago I lost a small wooden dwelling to the sea. I managed to hold onto it for five years before it was washed over the cliff due to the erosion on this particular part of the Holderness coastline in East Yorkshire - the fastest eroding coastline in Europe. I managed to retrieve a small wooden chair. The chair has since travelled with me to various costal edges, from Skipsea to Hull, to Brighton. The loss of my cottage made me keenly aware of how communities are forced to resettle and share a sense of impermanence of place; how the earth is forever re-forming and moving, and yet there seems to be an invisible thread that appears to connect us to ‘fixed place’ through the stories and memories we weave into localities. I am interested in the stories as these places erode, settlements fall off the edge, leaving people and communities displaced. (see http://www.edgelandia.com/2020/07/24/tilted-a-traced-village/)
Chalk West and East
Burling Gap, Sussex Coast
I now live on the eroding coastline of East Sussex, a disappearing coastal edgeland, where the chalk is returning to the sea from where it originally came. I am interested in how this impacts the people who live and work here, hearing their voices and how this may feed into creating a future piece that connects both Skipsea and Birling Gap.