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One to Watch - Helena Powell

Where did you study?

Glasgow School of Art

Name of your lecturer – course tutor?

Elaine Bremner, Helena Britt


1. How did you feel about winning the attention of the judges – what does it mean to you?

I feel as this past year of creating has always stemmed from passion projects, being able to capture the interest of people always feels exciting and being able to talk through the whole project brings me so much joy!

2. How important is colour in your work and why?

I think it is crucial, colour is so personal and affects how people interact with the world. From exploring colour play in teachings from The Bauhaus Movement, to how colour can affect emotions. For me personally, I think colour has always reminded me of memories and a sense of place within the world, being able to translate my interpretations of personal connections of place in an abstract way that I hope can be enjoyed with others.

3. What is your main source of inspiration?

Everything and Anything! I found through my degree and personal practice, Colour has always been a focal point with how I draw inspiration. I try to relate my work to places that bring me joy, whether it’s a road trip where I find interesting stones, to bus trips around Glasgow or a brief moment when the sun hits the flowers outside the studio!

4. What makes you happiest/most fulfilled in your creative process?

So many parts bring me joy, the process of initial research and process and how it sparks a domino effect and when something works exactly how you envision it, especially with designing a woven fabric, there is only so much research and knowledge that one can do but when the warp is being dyed and the weft woven, each pick has a personality and when they intertwine in a way that works exactly how it was planned, this sparks so much joy!

5. Creative high point?

I think it has to be when I’m able to have a moment to play, with colour, material and structure. There’s just so many possibilities with textiles!

6. Creative low point?

Being stuck in a loop, but I find that even within these points there is always something to learn from this or take a step back to see an overall direction to develop this.

7. Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?

I want to be able to keep challenging my knowledge with textiles, explore how I can do what I love and continue with a conscious mind of the environment. Being able to create small batches of functional woven art that people enjoy using as much as I enjoy making would be a dream!

8. Please tell us about a special person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to you on your creative journey.

There are so many people to thank! But I think there have been two amazing women who have helped me get to where I am and massively supported and inspire me every day.

My Aunt, Mandy Powell, who is a painter who I show everything to, has an amazing eye for the design and artistic side and has been amazing from when I started in GCSEs all the way through to the final moments of submission. She has been amazing in getting me out of creative loops and being so supportive of my pursuit of textiles.

Secondly, Jaine Mahon who is a hand weaver on the Isle of Skye. I can honestly say my collection would not have been the same without her, from the knowledge of how to dye a warp (a very overwhelming experience first time) to the array of technical aspects that she puts forward that are adapted when I design! Not to mention being introduced to silk in this sense and the in-depth knowledge she’s passed on to me.

9. What is your favourite colour?

This is probably the most difficult question, for me to describe colour will always be different depending on the person I’m talking to and the colours surrounding it. I go through phases, whenever I mix a colour and I get it spot on or when I see deadstock in an exact colour. But normally if you see what’s on the loom it’s a probable chance that would be my favourite for the moment,



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