Helena Seget – Thoughts

What's on Helena's mind today?

Month: February, 2014

Our spring salon sale

Well, whatever else anyone may say, for me the first day of Spring will be Sunday 23rd March!
It is the day of the Spring Salon Sale, which is taking place at the 36-Lime-St-Studios (from 10am-5pm) – and I’ll be taking part.

Memo pads - in porcelain.

Memo pads – in porcelain. Pencilled scribblings can just be washed off – to start again

The idea is that everyone in the complex will be opening up their studios, each trying to exhibit a range of work that might include ideas for some unique gifts.
After all, the event comes shortly before Mother’s Day; and just weeks before Easter for that matter.

In my studio (on the complex’s third floor) I’ll have my usual range of: ceramic shelves, porcelain jewellery, porcelain furniture and homeware (including my porcelain stationery range) – but I’ve been experimenting with variations on the forms, so you’ll see twists on themes that you haven’t seen before.

Paw prints for everybody

One experiment I’m quite excited about is paw-print casts in porcelain.

Last year someone asked me for an item made of pottery which would be a permanent reminder of their pet for them… so I persuaded their dog to place a paw into some wet clay – and I made a single, beautiful tile with the impression of the paw print in its middle.

Paw-print tile

Tiles showing the paw prints of Hamish, a Lhasa Apso dog

The fact that the print came from a real creature, one that had a name and a personality, deeply appealed to me.
Anyway, I’ll have examples of some of those tiles (from different pets – including rats, dogs and cats) on display.  If you too are interested in a paw-print tile, I will be on hand to explain how it can be made to happen for your pet.

I’ve also been developing my range of porcelain table-settings.  I have a set of place names now which features images of animals (a tiger, bird heads, and swallows from the blue willow pattern).  They are re-usable of course, as one just writes the name of the guest on the place-name setting – which can be then easily wiped off when the meal is over!

As I’m into table decoration right now, I think I’ll also display my ‘Crime Scene’-design plates, which feature silhouettes of dead animals.  (It’s a vegetarian angle…)

Origami

It’s always interesting to be asked to work with a creative company, and I’ve admired the work of the Newcastle firm Folded Square Origami for a long time – and now we will collaborate.

Folded Square creates rather amazing origami papers and kits (many of them in shapes of animals).

Origami rat

One of Folded Square’s origami rats

I’ve also been photographing the fur of pets (ones whose paw impressions have been used to create paw-print tiles), re-interpreting the results as graphic art, and printing off the designs on to paper.
So,  Folded Square will then create the same animal in origami (it could be a cat, for example) using the printed paper I supply.

Olive the Cat paper

This image was designed from a photo of the fur of Olive the cat – who was very patient in the photo session! I then printed it on to origami paper

Thus, side by side, the paw-print tile and the origami figure will be a form of portrait of the animal.

Folded Square will also be exhibiting for the first time.  They will be putting on a display in my studio of fantastical origami insects – which I can’t wait to see!

Animal theme

Do you know, now I look back at what I’ve written, I realise I hadn’t been aware that such a strong animal theme was emerging in this show.  I don’t know how I could have missed it.
Amazing what the subconscious can get up to…!

For more details about our Spring Salon event, nearer the time, see: 36 Lime Street Studios News

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Some paintings, from the past

Recently I have had a look through some of my old watercolour paintings.
Some of my friends were surprised to learn that I once had quite a passion for watercolours, but I trained in art, so it’s not that surprising.

I suppose I mostly painted in times when I had little else to do.
In fact, most of the works reproduced in this post come from when I lived for a few years in Poland teaching at Wroclaw University.  This was twenty years ago.  I would spend the weekends and holidays with my aunt, who lived in a small town a few miles away.
The painting helped while-away the winter nights there – which are long and cold!

I don’t know why I brought them out of storage, but friends have been kind enough to say they like them, so I have been exhibiting some of them.

'Potato Aunt' watercolour by Helena Seget

‘Potato Aunt’

This piece is called Kartaflana Ciocia (Potato Aunt in English).  I loved my aunt, and enjoyed painting her.
She had a habit of preferring natural remedies when she ill; and whenever she had a headache she would bind sliced potatoes to her forehead – which you see here.
It worked for her…

The Room next to Mine, watercolour by Helena Seget

‘The Room next to Mine’

My aunt lived in a nice old house.  This watercolour shows one of the rooms.  I call it – unsurprisingly – ‘The Room Next To Mine’.

Apples on Sunday, watercolour by Helena Seget

‘Apples on Sunday’

This work, Apples on Sunday (1990), is one of my favourites.
Every Sunday morning my aunt would attend the morning mass, and whenever I stayed with her, she insisted that I go too.
But, after a few initial visits, I refused to go anymore.   However, my Aunt was unhappy (to say the least) and would refuse to speak to me for the best part of the day.
To avoid her ire, I would stay in bed until after she had left for mass; and then I would get up and enjoy the morning.
This picture is one that I took great pleasure in painting on one of these Sunday mornings.

'Lake Otmuchów, Opole', oil-painting by Helena Seget

‘Lake Otmuchów, Opole’ – oil on cardboard

My job at the university was to teach English to the staff, and, very kindly, they took me under their wing.
Polish people love to go off on trips into the countryside; and my late friend, Jacek Krawcynski, and his friends from Opole, invited me to join them on a few occasions.  I took my paints with me one time and painted this view of Lake Otmuchów, which is in the district of Opole.

'Rzedkowice, Silesia', pencil-drawing by Helena Seget

‘Rzedkowice, Silesia’

One of my last efforts in Poland, before returning to England, was this pencil on paper image of Rzędkowice, which is in Silesia.  It’s another view, this time from the Krawa Piątka (Fifth Edge’).  I drew it in September 1991.

Question…

It has been interesting looking back at these works. I’m even wondering if I should take painting up again.  However, I am so busy with my porcelain commissions, I don’t know how I’d find the time to start.

So… I shan’t have to make a decision on that for a while!