Helaina Sharpley is a lady of great knowledge, wisdom and talent. I first met Helaina at BCTF on her first show there back in 2007. My first impressions of her was WOW! on her amazing unique talent, but also her drive and determination. For a young lady she swooped up the awards on her first show and they have been on the increase ever since. I am a big fan of her vision and her work. Take a look into Helaina Sharpley’s world of wire…..
What is your background, how did you begin?
I started my business in 2006, after graduating from Hereford College of Art and Design with a BS (hon.) in Design Crafts.
What era would you like to be born in?
I’d like to have been born in the late Victorian era, so I could have fully enjoyed the Edwardian era… and I’d have to have been middle or upper class, otherwise living conditions were rather grim.
Why does this inspire you?
These times had great elegance. Things were created with fine detail and precision – you only have to look at the architecture to see this…seaside piers, railway stations, lampposts… ornate decoration was added to everything! I also love the idea of formalities and etiquette in society, where ladies took afternoon tea , with prearranged conversation topics and linen to match the season. In my imagination, it was a wonderful gentle time….I know it wasn’t all sweetness really though!
Describe your process and inspirations around your work?
I collect a lot of ‘inspiration’ (more commonly known as hoarding….) I have lots of books, old postcards and ephemera, tea cups, tea pots, cutlery, tea trays, cake stands… And I like these things to surround me, so I can see them everyday. I draw my designs using sepia ink and a mapping nib. These drawings become the templates for the wire work, and all the wire is shaped and twisted using my hands, pliers and wire cutters.
What events and shows are coming up for you?
I recently sent work to the Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong, for the second year running I’ll be showing with Byard Art, Cambridge. I’m also nervously excited to have been accepted to take part in The Other Art Fair www.theotherartfair.co.uk
What are your top tips for relaxing outside of work?
Drinking tea and eating cake….
You have just finished your first art film, are you going to do more of this…?
Oh I don’t know about that! Let’s see how this one goes down first! 😉 I think there is great scope to tell more of this story and hopefully my work will show me the way…
You have been working hard behind the scenes on your website, when is the launch date?
Soon! Hopefully April time.
What is your favourite quote?
Let them eat cake.
If you could dress as an Edwardian lady everyday and drink tea, would you?
I’ve been thinking about this long and hard…. If I still had to go to the studio – no (I try to walk to work, and I’m quite a speed walker – I think the long skirt would get in the way! Also, I think the corset would soon become wearing!) However, if I could be a lady of leisure, then YES!