Photo: Helen Parrott in Sheffield, England., Yorkshire

Helen Parrott

Artist, Writer, Teacher

Concepts, processes and techniques

Most recently I have been collaborating with the Bradford Textile Archive - drawing inspiration from their collections to make new research informed work. 

We and our surroundings are changed and marked by the processes of living. These marks, arising from human and natural processes, are my inspiration. The bubbles momentarily visible on the beach as a wave retreats, the sand ripples left by an outgoing tide, the footpaths worn by people walking from place to place over many years and the layers of occupation seen at archaeological sites and elsewhere are all important to me and my work. Time is significant. Much of my work is hand stitched, often drawing on textile history, particularly nineteenth century North Country quilts and eighteenth century calico printing. Working with the slow and meditative processes of making textiles gives me time to reflect on marks observed, subtleties seen, the changing colours of the seasons, memories made and lives lived. 


I live in Northern England, near the Peak District National Park. The Peak offers a glorious variety of inspiring landscapes shaped and marked by settlement, lead mining, textile production, quarrying and other human activities over millennia. Walking in these landscapes in all weathers has deepened my understanding of their evolution, complexities and subtleties. My book 'Mark making in textile art' (Batsford UK and Interweave USA 2013) shares my creative journey through these landscapes. 

Career path

I am a visual artist, writer, teacher, and mentor/coach. Since 1990 I have exhibited my textile work all over the world, often with the international exhibiting group Quilt Art (member 1990-2002), with solo shows in the UK including 'Zen and the art of hand quilting' which toured nationally with an Arts Council England grant in 2002. I have worked as a leader and senior manager in the arts, culture and education sectors since the 1990's, first as a lead artist, then in community development, knowledge exchange in Higher Education, graduate enterprise and partnership development. I currently work as a senior manager at Arts Council England. I have a longstanding interest in and commitment to empowering artists / individuals and organisations, especially in the visual arts, including Open studios, studio groups and artists' professional development.  I lecture and run workshops on contemporary stitch.


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Location Sheffield, England., Yorkshire
Activities Adult education, Lecturing, Residencies, Workshops
Artforms / type of project Drawing, Mixed Media, Textiles
Tags textiles, stitch, drawing, mixed media, landscape, archive

News & Events

  • Refabricate

    11/09/2015 – 17/10/2015
    Bradford Cathedral

    Reshowing of some of the works from the Pick and Mix exhibition earlier in 2015.

    Find out more

  • Refabricate

    11/09/2015 – 17/10/2015
    Bradford Cathedral

    Exhibition of work from the Bradford Textile Archive Pick and Mix exhibition held earlier this year at the Dye House Gallery. Work to be shown includes my '9 yards or thereabouts' textile artwork.

    Find out more

  • Panel discussion ‘How does a quilt become a piece of fine art?

    Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham, UK.

    Helen Parrott and friends debating what makes a quilt a work of art and the perception of quilts in the fine art arena. Chair Sue Prichard.

    Find out more

  • Festival of Quilts Panel discussion ‘How does a quilt become a piece of fine art?

    Helen Parrott and friends debating what makes a quilt a work of art, and the perception of quilts in the fine art arena. Chair Sue Prichard.

  • Infinite and Various conference 22 April 2015

    Conference accompanying Bradford Pick and Mix exhibition. I will be presenting on my research and making of my new work '9 yards or thereabouts'.

  • Bradford Pick and Mix exhibition 13 January -18 February,

    Group exhibition of work inspired by the Bradford Textile Archive. Includes my new work, 'Nine Yards or thereabouts' based on 18 century Mary Ware notebook.

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