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  • Helen English Artist

Into the deep...

So, with a tidy project space achieved, what next you might ask?


The one thing which is always open on my desk is my diary. I love a good diary! But I will get to that another week. In my diary for this week was “Bags!” so that was this week’s main idea. I am mostly known, amongst those who recognise my work, for my watercolour portrait work so bags seems a little left field but it is my current obsession and it feels like a side project which has permeated into my main task when I am not tutoring.


Having figured out a template for turning a pair of jeans into a bag – something I had been contemplating for a while before I through caution to the wind and did it – I have continued thinking of ways to further up the ante on what a finished bag looks like. I’ve added lining, a key holder, and the latest is a detachable handle whilst I separately figure out handbag handles as additional accessories. The list is endless and I have other ideas which keep popping into my head. I have realised that digging deep into this project has created a lot of learning and interest for me.


This also relates to the way that I have worked with watercolour. I love creating portraits but their individual allure can be limited. There isn’t an open market for a picture of someone’s aunty or son so I have to also produce more generic work, which I also enjoy, and this also helps me to experiment with what I do. Sometimes I am thrown into this through a request for public art work, which can be a lot of fun. For instance, I ended up creating chalk art with wildlife and other themes for the streets of my local town and then continued exploring these subjects in my watercolour work. This then has led to some interest in this work so I have more tangents to follow, which are really interesting and have expanded what I do.


What is your current creative project? Have you thought about which parts of it that you love or that you want to look into more? Are there similar ideas that you want to explore. I think there’s a lot to be said for starting a creative idea and then thinking about how it can be improved or changed. This can take some time, so spend time perfecting what you are doing if you are in a good space and then use what you know to propel you further. Creative depth rather than can be a great alternative to keep that spark alive.

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