Helen Graham

Signs, symbols and mythology inform ceramist Helen Graham’s work.

Using handmade porcelain and terracotta forms, she creates thought-provoking works on themes such as politics, feminism and advertising.

Her current practice is a progression from her MA in Visual Arts.

Helen Graham three pots

Creating hand-built forms from Southern Ice porcelain – a “very white, very translucent and very expensive” material – Helen imposes recognisable contemporary symbols on to handled flasks that reflect Classical and pre-Classical history and mythology.

Helen says:

“I am interested in themes such as gender and semiotics, and aim to create a visual narrative through inlaid decoration. Some are obvious comments; others are more obtuse and open to interpretation.”

Forms are created to reflect Ancient Near Eastern and Greek designs and decorated with, for example, female and male symbols for toilets, mixed in with religious imagery such as a bishop’s mitre. Helen designed this work to question the current Pope’s pledge to address world poverty while rejecting women’s reproductive rights, and refers to it as a commentary on Christianity’s uneasy relationship with women.

“We live in a culture where women’s lives are determined by the ways in which they are perceived,” she says. “And yet, at the 2013 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the term “reproductive rights” was removed, such is the strength of the Vatican lobby”.

“I am fascinated by archaeology and ancient sites and am a complete trainspotter for pre-Christian imagery. Many pre-Christian religions had female deities but Christianity either maligned them, or appropriated them and their festivals.”

Other recent works include a series about the 2012 Olympics, depicting Jessica Ennis and a female Iraqi archer,

“it’s a comment about passivism and women as products”, says Helen.

She is currently building her practice in preparation for the pursuit of a PhD.

Prior to her MA studies, Helen completed a BA (Hons) in Art and Design at Bradford University, specialising in ceramics and print-making (1989). She worked on a Creative Workshop Scheme and, in 1990, won a Princes Trust grant to investigate Portuguese ceramics, such as azulejoes and decorated majolica ware.

Helen was a founder member of Prospect Mill Studios in Thornton, Bradford. She is a qualified and experienced silversmith and holds a PGCE qualification. She has been teaching at HSAD since 2000.

She exhibits and sells her work widely, most recently at the British Craft Fair, Dean Clough in Halifax and at Gallery Eleven in Hull as part of a Northern Potters’ Association show. Upcoming exhibitions include a display in the North York Moors visitor centre at Danby; the Lillian Coleman Gallery in St John’s Wood, London; and The Meeting Room at South Square Centre in Thornton, Bradford, in November.

You can view Helen’s ceramics at: www.helengraham.org.uk.

Staff Profiles – Hull School of Art and Design

In Alphabetical Order:
SURNAME, FORENAME   –   DEPARTMENT/ROLE

SALLY FIRBY – Web and Digital Design

LYNN BENSON – Fashion

IAN CARMICHAEL – Fine Art

DIANE CHATTERTON,  – Printmaking

CLAIRE DAY  Textiles

CHRIS DIMMACK – Architecture, Graphic Design

DAVE ECCLES  – Graphic Design, New Media, etc

ALISON FIELD  – Photography

JACKIE GOODMAN  Associate Dean – Arts Faculty, Digital Media Journalism

BRIDGET HANSFORD – Architecture

ANTHONY HATFIELD – Fine Art

GARY HORNSBY  –  Architecture

JILL HOWITT – Critical & Theoretical Studies

SARAH HUMPHREYS  Dean, Arts Faculty, RAGE Research Project

JULIE HUSBAND  Graphic Design

SARAH JOHNSON  – Critical & Theoretical Studies

JAYNE JONES  – Critical & Theoretical Studies

ANNA KIRK SMITH  Creative Futures, Fine Art

VINAYAN KODOTH  – Filmmaking & Creative Media Production

DOMANIC LI  – Illustration, Graphic Design

GINNY LINDENBAUM – Critical & Theoretical Studies, MA Coordinator

LUCY MARKHAM Fashion

NEIL McCONACHIE Filmmaking and Creative Media Production

STEVE MOORE – 3D Workshop

GLYNIS NELSON – Photography

LINDY NORTON – Illustration, Printmaking Foundation Studies tutor

KAREN OUTRAM – Fashion

NATHAN PIDD  – Photography, Digital Print

NANCY PLIENER – Ceramics

ALEX RABONEGraphic Design

JO RAY – Fine Art

JOE SARGIESON Filmmaking and Creative Media Production

GARETH SLEIGHTHOLME –  Games Design, RAGE Research Project

PAUL STARKEY – Games Design

MARK TERRY – Photography

ANNEMARIE TICKLE – Textiles

KEVIN WHITTAKER – New Media, Web Design

MARK WILLIAMS  – Illustration

STEVE WOODFORDCritical & Theoretical Studies

ELLIE WYNN  – Critical & Theoretical Studies

BEN WADE – Video, Moving Image

See sidebar for staff profiles divided by: Subject Cluster, Research Cluster, Campus etc.