Monday, 18 April 2011

Helaina Sharpley

Name of company/artist?
Helaina Sharpley

Tell us about your company and how it all began? 
I create wirework wall pieces, which cross the boundaries between drawing and sculpture.  I graduated in 2006, from Hereford College of Art and Design, with BA (hons) in Design Crafts.  I returned home (Mirfield, West Yorkshire) and set up in business straight away.  I now sell my work in galleries and gift shops across the country, and also work on private commissions.

What do you specialize in?
 Most of my wire pieces are inspired by tea and tea drinking....cups, teapots, cakes... and this expanded into Edwardian tea drinking and everything related to this, and in particular elegant architecture.  In the past year I have done several private commissions which have included people's houses, Brighton bandstand and a Newcastle scene.

Describe your typical day?
My days are often packed full of activity - checking emails, cup of tea, flicking through books looking for inspiration, drawing, cup of tea, sanding, painting boards, cup of tea and biscuits, wirework, tea, more wirework, sometimes afterschool artclub at a local primary school and of course, more tea!

What is your favourite piece within your collection?
Ooh, tricky question, I like the more complicated and intricate architectural pieces, that can often take weeks to finish.  I finished 'The Astoria, London 1928' a few weeks ago.

What advice would you give someone starting their own creative business?
Diversification!  I have several different areas of income, but all of them creative.  I sell my wirework through galleries and gift shops across the country, I do upto 6 retail fairs a year, where I can meet and sell directly to the public (commissions often follow these) and I run workshops in schools.

What inspires you?
Firstly tea!  But also elegance, which surprisingly can be found in many things - architecture, grandfather clocks, pocket watches, hot air balloons...

What do you do on your day off?
Recently, days off have been few and far between, but if I do have time off it's often a combination of dull housework, baking a cake and catching up with friends.

What do you love most about what you do?
I really enjoy finishing a commission for someone, and then, they love it and appreciate the work involved and the unique piece I've created, especially for them.

Have you any exciting news? Exhibitions coming up? 
I won the 'wow' factor award at the British Craft Trade Fair last weekend - this is the second time I've won this excitingly (the first time was in 2007.)
Also, see me/my work at
-Ferrers Gallery, Staunton Harold in the Craft&Design Selected Award Winners exhibition
-Brighton Open Houses (Bungeroosh Gallery) every weekend in May
-Byard Art, Cambridge from the end of May
-Contemporary Craft Fair, Bovey Tracey, Devon 10th-12th June
-Landmark Art Fair, Teddington, 24th-26th June

What day are you doing the art market and who are you excited about seeing? 
5th June.  I love Clare Caulfield's work and was pleased to see she'll be there the same day as me! 

Where can we buy your work?
You can contact me through for your local stockists.   

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