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Interview with Helen Clara Hemsley

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 30.06.2014
Interview with Helen Clara Hemsley.
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona

Intro
I sometimes refer to the notion of being Danish in my work but generally I would say that my work is more universal than it is local. I deal with issues, emotions and states of being that are common in many cultures and countries. I myself am a mixture of many points of views and cultures. A twist of old fashioned ‘I told you so’ wisdom with a modern, street attitude.
Do you think that jewellery is being standardized? What is there of local and universal in your artistic work?
No, but I think that there is an element of mass produced jewellery that is. But the wearer’s personal interpretation and a playful attitude towards all types of jewellery keeps diversity alive, whether it is a chain you bought in HM for 10 € or a unique piece that cost a fortune. Local/Universal: I sometimes refer to the notion of being Danish in my work but generally I would say that my work is more universal than it is local. I deal with issues, emotions and states of being that are common in many cultures and countries. I myself am a mixture of many points of views and cultures. A twist of old fashioned ‘I told you so’ wisdom with a modern, street attitude.

What do you expect when exposing your work to the public (for example with an exhibition)?
I tell stories. I hope that people smile, laugh and understand what I am trying to say.

Are other areas besides the jewellery, present in your work?
Storytelling and of course the conceptual element is vital to my work. Often pieces start with the idea and then technique, form and materials come afterwards. Titles play a very important role too, but I also try to present my work in a way that allows the viewer to see the work without the titles first so they can build their own picture of what it is all about before seeing my titles.

The last work, book, film, city that has moved me was...
Work: Ragna Mouritzn (huge pepper-grinder like objects in pastel colours) that I just want to shrink and wear as brooches!
Book: Kajsa Gullberg’s UNRAVELLED has crept right into my soul
Film: I recently saw THE BIG BLUE again after 20 years and I melted
City: I have fallen in love with the little port town of Svendborg

A place, space, country whose creativity surprises me...
I come from South Africa and I have somewhat strong ties with the country even though I moved away 25 years ago. I love the fact that there is this mix of aesthetics where some things are so essentially African and other things are so hip and universal.

Is there any designer, jeweller, artist, you appreciate a lot?
There are so many! However, I think that my all time high was when I had a tutorial with Marina Abramovic when I was in my last year at Glasgow School of Art. She told me that you only get one really good idea in your lifetime.

What piece or work has given you the most satisfaction?
‘You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink’ has given me a lot of satisfaction. It was the first truly figurative embroidered piece I made and it was a real love and hate struggle getting him to look like a real horse. I bled and bled and swore a lot. When he came out into the world he was soft and appealing and he has even made a princess smile.

Do you read Jewellery Magazines? What is your source to get information?
I try and read jewellery magazines but I must admit that the Internet is my most common source of information. I also try to keep up to date with local stuff going on in the city.

Do you discuss your work with other jewellery artists or any other person?
Yes I discuss my work extensively. With my children, my boyfriend, other jewellery artists and anyone who wants to really. I have a huge network of like-minded people so there is always a good flow of discussion, support and inspiration.

What is your first thought when you hear the word Future?, What do you expect for?
I have always been very good at not expecting too much from the future. I am good at focusing on the now. I work hard and am filled with passion and excitement, so if I expect anything it is that I will be able to carry on making my work and telling stories until I am a very old lady.
Helen Clara Hemsley. Necklace: You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink, 2012. Cotton fabric, knitting yarn, leather and brass buckles. 8 X 10,5 cm (horse). Photo: Dorte Krogh. Helen Clara Hemsley
Necklace: You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink, 2012
Cotton fabric, knitting yarn, leather and brass buckles
8 X 10,5 cm (horse)
Photo: Dorte Krogh
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