Helen Birnbaum

I have been making things for as long as I can remember, and I am inspired by the shape of objects I find, and often take this as my starting point when designing my work.  I hand build my ceramic pieces, adding coils, slabs and spheres of clay together to make my figures and forms.  I add knitted pieces which I sometimes actually knit into the ceramic itself, and pieces of old metal or glass items for affect.  My work consists of different pieces, maybe human, animal or organic grouped around specific themes and meanings.  I like word play as well and enjoy making pieces that have a joke at their heart.

 

I am directly inspired by the period I grew up in as a very small child of the 1960's. During this time designers were defiantly harnessing the tension of the nuclear age and produced striking designs all based on microscopic atomic particles. All these years later it seems there is no escaping these influences and my ceramics are full of spikes, spheres and geometric patterns.

 

I have recently completed an AA2A residency in the ceramics department at Liverpool Hope University (2014/15) where I experimented with glaze mixing and developed more complex hand building techniques. I produced a large chess set (1m x1m) based on microscopic forms during this time.