Helen Pailing is an artist-maker who seeks to redefine the possibilities of materials for sculpture and to ‘recraft waste’ materials into sculptures, assemblages and site-specific interventions using haptic knowledge to inform works.
The materials Helen uses are often a remnant from the process of making; glass from lampworking and salvaged utilitarian materials; bed springs, window blinds, fixtures and fittings – all having their own history, form, structure and intention. Helen then stitches, wraps and weaves in response to them – using craft techniques to connect, transform and create new works that exist in a state of tension. The work therefore sits in a space between the bound, fixed and hand-made and the precarious unmade, as though the works could unwrap or unravel at any moment. Larger modular installations occupy space in a provisional way as Helen reconfigures, reassembles and re-organises matter in spaces, often as a direct response to the location. All of this forms a playful engagement and collaboration between maker and matter.
An economy of means and material is an integral part of Helen’s process. Re-using materials destined for landfill is her own quiet activism, a way to bring awareness to seemingly non-precious or redundant ‘waste’ material and to celebrate the value within all matter.