We were delighted to be able to chat with artist and maker Helen Riddle about her practice. A beautiful range of Helen's felt and textile pieces are available to purchase on our online shop, and very soon in our physical shop too!
Tell us a little about yourself and your brand.
I’m a studio holder at the Art House working in textiles, hand-made felt, free-motion embroidery and hand stitch. I also love drawing and printmaking. I’ve had my own craft business since 2008 but am now increasingly concentrating on work for exhibition.
I’ve never had a brand as I want to be free to make whatever sort of work I like - that’s the most important thing for me.
What first inspired you to sell your felt and textile pieces?
I’d always made things for friends, family and colleagues in my spare time alongside my teaching career. One year, the Parents’ Association at Ackworth School where I was a languages teacher, asked me if I’d like a stall at their Spring Fair, and that’s how it began. A few years later I stopped teaching to run my craft business full time.
What inspires you to keep making and where does your inspiration come from?
It is so much a part of me now that I’d find it very difficult to stop making! I love the tactile process of feltmaking and the intimacy I have with the wool but I also love drawing whether that is with a pen in my sketchbook or with my sewing machine on fabric. My inspiration is eclectic: people, conversation, nature, the insignificant details of everyday life.
Do you have any advice for any artists looking to sell their work commercially?
I’m probably the last person to give advice as I’d run a mile at the mention of a business plan! I think, given the current circumstances, it’s wise not to put all your eggs in one basket financially as creativity can be easily crushed if the bills pile up! On the positive side, believe in your own work and don’t be afraid to ask questions of other people in the sector – I’ve met many lovely, generous creative people over the years and have learned so much from them.