Lady of Harley

About me 

Helen is an artist, resident in south Co. Derry, N.Ireland, working predominantly in fabric and thread. Her interest in textile arts and crafts began at a young age, encouraged by her mother, she would make her small decorative pieces and her own clothes as a hobby. This past-time quickly developed into what was to become a life long passion for all things associated to the world of hand crafts.  

Helen has played an influential role in the establishment and continuation of an active community for traditional crafts/arts in her local area, and has been a member of many of the prominent Guilds throughout Ireland and the British Isles.  In her capacity as a founder and teacher of the ‘Mullagh Quilters’ (1983 - 1999) she has been able to share her vast amount of knowledge and enthusiasm for the discipline. This cross-community group was the first of its kind in the area and its members went on to successfully form their own group that is still in place today. 

Having recently taken early retirement from her 12 year post at Limavady College, Helen is now turning her focus towards the development of her own work. She has recently exhibited her first solo show at the Bellaghy Bawn entitled, ‘An interpretation of Seamus Heaney’s “Field Work” (1979)’, that ran from April to July 2009, having been extended by request. Click here to see more of her works. 


History of Practice

Fashion

1983 - 1994 Dressmaker trading under the name of ‘Future Perfects’, specialising in heirloom christening gowns and first holy communion dresses for both the local and international market, and making bespoke wedding gowns for individual clients.

Garments exhibited during this period at:

-The Irish Crafts Fair, RDS, Dublin

-The Great British Crafts Fair, Harrogate,

-Premier Children’s Wear NEC, Birmingham

-World Trade Centre (Derry/Boston Ventures)

-World Trade Centre, New York, IDB.


Teaching

1989 - 2006, Established and managed the ‘Mullagh Quilters’ patchwork group, which was the first of its kind in mid-Ulster. The cross-community classes ran for three nights each week from 1989 until 1999 and exhibitions of both my own and my students' work were held in the Bellaghy Bawn in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2006.

1994 - 2006, Teaching at Limavady College for Further and Higher Education, becoming Course director for University of Ulster's Traditional Crafts programme in 2000. 

 

Membership

1985 - 1994, and from 2007 - present, Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild, Chairman during 1994

1987 - present, Quilter’s Guild of the British Isles 1987, Regional Rep during 1992

1987 - 1997, Irish Patchwork Society, sat on committee board several times during this period as well as acting as their Northern Representative

1988 - 1990, Northern Ireland Embroidery Guild

1990 - present, American Quilter’s Society 

 

Exhibitions since 2009

2009, Solo exhibition, ‘An interpretation of Seamus Heaney’s “Field Work” (1979)', Bellaghy Bawn

2009, ‘Maguire: the inspiration’, QGBI group show, Cregagh Road Library, Belfast

2009, Exhibition of Northern Ireland Patchworkers’ Guild Members, group show, Ailsa Craigh, Ontario, Canada

2009, ‘The Human Cost of War’, participation in group show and round table discussion during a series of events hosted by The Imperial War Museum, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, and the Whitechapel Gallery.

2009, 'Maguire – the inspiration',  participation in QGBI (Quilters' Guild of the British Isles) group show, Creagha Road Library, Belfast. 

2010, 'Arpilleras : voices on Tapestries ', participation in group show, The Embassy of Chile, Old Queen Street, London.

2010, 'Quilts/Arpilleras: ambassadors for the bi-centennial', participation in group show, General Consulate of Chile, New York City.

2010, 'Quilts/Arpilleras for the bi-centennial', participation in group show, Central Congregational Church, Newburyport, Boston MA. 

2010, 'Arpilleras from yesterday and today', participation in group show, Chilean Embassy.

2010, 10 June - 5 September, Solo exhibition, ‘An interpretation of Seamus Heaney’s “Field Work” (1979)', Verbal Arts Centre, Derry City. 

2010, August, 'Maguire – the inspiration',  participation in QGBI (Quilters' Guild of the British Isles) group show, Festival of Quilts, Birmingham. 

2010, September, 'My Favourite Artist', participation in QGBI (Quilters' Guild of the British Isles) group show, Hever Castle, Kent.  

2010, October, 'Maguire – the inspiration',  participation in QGBI (Quilters' Guild of the British Isles) Cecil Maguire Exhibition, Kenny's Bookstore, Galway. 

2010, October, 'Stitching Resistance' , participation in joint exhibition, University of Osaka, Japan.

2010, November, 'The Human Cost of War', participation in group show, Tower Museum, Union Hall Place, Derry.

2011, January, 'The Dreamcatcher', participation in joint exhibition 'Hands Across the Border' of the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild and the Irish Patchwork Society, Armagh County Museum, Armagh City. 

2011, February, participation in an exhibition commissioned by the World Council of Churches for their International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) to mark the end of the decade to Overcome Violence which began in 2010, Headquarters of WCC Geneva, Switzerland.

2011, March, 'The Great Irish Famine of 1845 and how it has impinged on my DNA', participation in the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, NEC,  Birmingham.

2011, May, participation in an exhibition commissioned by the World Council of Churches for their International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) to mark the end of the decade to Overcome Violence which began in 2010, Kingston, Jamica

2012, August, 'Shakespeare Rocks' included in a group quilt entitled 'Celebrating Diversity' by the Contemporary Quilt Group, at the 'Festival of Quilts' show, NEC, Birmingham

2012, September, 'Shakespeare Rocks' included in a group quilt entitled 'Celebrating Diversity' by the Contemporary Quilt Group, St Anthony's Hall, York

2012, October, 'Shakespeare Rocks' included in a group quilt entitled 'Celebrating Diversity' by the Contemporary Quilt Group, Val d'Argent, Alsace, France

2012, 11 October - 24 November, Solo exhibition, ‘An interpretation of Seamus Heaney’s “Field Work” (1979)', Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, Ireland

2012, November, 'My Favourite Artist, Leonardo da Vinci'. Participation in Quilters Guild of The British Iles, Region 17, Bangor Heritage Centre, North Down Museum, Bangor

2013, January, BBC footage of 16 pieces illustrating Phil Coulter’s song “The Town I Loved so Well’, projected during 'Sons & Daughters' inaugural concert for Derry/Londonderry City of Culture 2013, Sunday 20th January at Ebrington Barracks, Derry City.

2013, January, An edited version of the 'Sons & Daughters' live show was then broadcast on BBC1, Sunday 27th January 2013, 10.30pm. This included the moving images of my work. 

2013, April, Participation in the group show 'Must Have Orange In It' for the Northern Irish Patchwork Guild, King's Hall, Belfast.

2013, April-May, Solo exhibition, 'The Town I Loved So Well', Playhouse, Derry City

2013, 20 May - 30 June, Solo exhibition, 'The Town I Loved So Well', The Bridewell, Magherafelt

2013, July-August, 'Flora, Fabric & Fibre', participation in the group show 'Hands Across the Border' for the Northern Irish Patchwork Guild, Botanical Gardens, Dublin

2013, September-October, 'Flora, Fabric & Fibre', participation in the group show 'Hands Across the Border' for the Northern Irish Patchwork Guild, Island Centre, Lisburn

2013, April-May, 'Derry's Shirt Factories', participation in group show, The London Street Gallery, Derry

2013, 02-31 October, Solo exhibition, 'Field Work, Linen Hall Library, Belfast

2013, September-October, 'Our Cultural Heritage', participation in the Northern Irish Patchwork Guild (NIPG) group show, Belfast City Hall, Belfast

2013, October, participation in NIPG 'Hands Across The Border - Flora, Fauna and Fabric' group show, RDS Ballsbridge, Dublin

2013, 16 November - 24 December, 'The Tin Mine Quilts', participation in the QGBI group show, Rhondda Valley Heritage Museum, Trehafod, Wales

2014, 05-27 May, Solo exhibition, 'VOGUE: Rites of Passage', Linen Hall Library, Belfast

2014, 13-15 November, ‘The Biblical Quilt’, participation in NIPG joint exhibition, Dromore  Methodist Church, Dromore, Co Down.

2014, 2 December - 31 January, participation in ‘Chinese Whispers’ collaborative quilt, Crehagh Road Library, Belfast.

2014, ‘The Invictus Games 2014’, contribution to annual NIPG Christmas Challenge

2015, 5-28 May, 'Hands Across the Border: Reflections', a joint exhibition between the NIPG and the IPS, Belfast's City Hall.

2015, 5-31 July, 'Hands Across the Border: Reflections', a joint exhibition between the NIPG and the IPS, Botanical Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin.

2016, April, 'Memories', participation in the NIPG group show, Flax Gallery, Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim. 

2016, 28-30 April, participation in the NIPG group show 'Crafting Live', Titanic Centre, Belfast.   

2016, 26 May - 14 July, solo exhibition, 'The Centenary Exhibitions', Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan.

2016, 24 May - 10 June, ‘Blowin' in the Wind’,  participation in the QGBI Region 17 Group exhibition, Haptik Gallery, Newtownards, Co Down.  

2016, 30 June - 1 August, 'Blowin' in the Wind', participation in the QGBI Region 17 Group exhibition, Cregagh Library, Cregagh Road, Belfast.

2016, 19 July - 30 September, solo exhibition, 'The Centenary Exhibitions', The Somme Centre, Newtonards, Co Down.

2016, December, 'A Winter's Tale', participation in the NIPG Christmas Challenge.  

2017, February-March, showcasing a selection of works from 'Field Work' solo exhibition; 'The Gutteral Muse', 'A Postcard from North Antrim', 'The Glanmore Sonnets', 'Elegy' and 'High Summer', Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy, Co Derry. 

2017, 16-23 May, 'Aurora', participation in the group show 'Hands Across The Boarder 2017' by NIPG and the Irish Patchwork Society, CHQ Building, Custom House Quay, North Dock, Dublin.

2017, June, 'Aurora', participation in the group show 'Hands Across The Boarder 2017' by NIPG and the Irish Patchwork Society, The Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, Co Antrim.

2017, 17 June, participation in a local craft exhibition by Mid Ulster Council, Bank of Ireland, Magherafelt, Co Derry. 

2017, 3-28 October, participation in the group show 'Book Project' by Quilter's Guild of the British Isles, Region 17 at Cregagh Library, Belfast.  

2018, 3-29 January 2018, solo exhibition, 'Vogue: Rites of Passage', Ranfurly House, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone.

2018, 26-30 April, group exhibition ‘Dive into your stash’ by the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild at Belfast's Titanic Centre.

2018, 3-30 November, 'Chakra Coat', participation in group show, 'The Wonderful World of Colour' by Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild at Bangor Library, Bangor, Co Down.

 Education

2001 - 2002, PGC in Further & Higher Education, University of Ulster, Jordanstown

2002 - 2003, PG Dip in Further & Higher Education, University of Ulster, Jordanstown

2003 - 2004, Diploma in Life & Business Coaching, European Coaching Institute