Approved: 16.08.2006

Helen Parrott

Artist, Maker, Writer, Teacher

Approved: 16.08.2006

Concepts, processes and techniques

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  • Location: Sheffield, England., Yorkshire
  • Activities: Adult education, Lecturing, Residencies, Workshops
  • Categories: Project, Drawing, Mixed Media, Research, Textiles
  • Tags: textiles, stitch, drawing, mixed media, landscape, archive, research, words




    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 with a wider audience. 

    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 research, lecture and run workshops on contemporary stitch.


    CV & Education

    Solo exhibitions

    2002 - Surface, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield by invitation - 3 person show.

    2002 - Zen and the art of hand quilting, national touring, London; Dublin; Harrogate

    1999 - Cupola Gallery, Sheffield

    1993 - Cupola Gallery, Sheffield


    2013 - Mark-making in textile art (Batsford in UK, Interweave in US)

    Public commissions 

    2006 - Here:Now, Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, About Art Gallery 

    1995 - Cup and Ring, Quilters Guild 90's Collection, Quilters Guild of the British Isles, York or on tour 

    Competitions, prizes and awards 

    2008 - Challenging Conversations, Arts Council England , Various locations 

    2002 - Making and Showing award for Zen show, Arts Council England, Touring London, Dublin, Harrogate 

    2002 - New Lines Research and Development award , Arts Council England, UK wide 

    Other activities

    2015 Presentation at Infinite and Various Conference on my research and artwork inspired by the Bradford Textile Archive collections

    2011 - Weekend Workshop - Stitch, Summer School for Contemporary Quilt Group of Quilters' Guild of British Isles, Ipswich

    2008 - Challenging Conversations project - mid career development model, Arts Council England grant funded, Various locations in UK

    2006 - Visiting lecturer , Sheffield Hallam University and Galway Institute, Sheffield; Galway, Ireland

    2005 - Ambiguous Spaces 2 seminar - speaker/panel member, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK

    Group exhibitions

    2016 Llangollen - details tbc

    2015 - Bradford Pick and Mix, Dye House Gallery, Bradford College.

               Refabricate, Bradford Cathedral

    2013 - Maker's Mark, Beetroot Tree Gallery, Draycott, Derbyshire

    2012 - 60 Drawings, Bankley Gallery, Manchester

    2012 - acCent! Art quilts of the UK, National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA

    2012 - Festival of Quilts, National Exhibition Centre., Birmingham, UK.

    2010 - Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham

    2008 - Text Exhibition, Cupola Gallery, Sheffield

    2003 - International Quilt Carnival, Nagoya, Japan

    2003 - Room to Roam, Fiberarts Gallery, St. Ives, Cornwall

    2003 - Tales from the Sewing Room, Nunnington Hall, Yorkshire

    2001 - Quilt Art, Moving On, UK and European tour

    2000 - Legend and Living Tradition, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham

    1999 - Quilt 99, Knitting and Stitching show, London, Dublin, Harrogate

    1998 - A Stitch in Time, Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, England

    1998 - Quilt Art, Art Galleries and Museums across Europe, Potsdam, Germany and European tour

    1996 - Northern Rock Art, Durham Art Gallery

    1995 - Quilt Art 24/60, Various in UK and Europe, National Tour

    1994 - Quilters Guild National Exhibition, Edinburgh City Art Centre 1994 - Quiltshow, Town Hall, Leeds City Art Gallery / Dortmund Gallery, Leeds, UK and Dortmund, Germany 1992 - Quilt Art of Japan,, Various venues, Japan and California 1992 - The Art of the Quilt, Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, England

    Artist talks

    2009 - Circle, line and square, Quilters' Guild, St Anthony's Hall, York

    2002 - Celebrity Quilt Lecture, OPUS School of Textile Arts, London

    2000 - Annual Celebrity Quilt Lecture, London Quilters, London

    2000 - Material Origins Lecture, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham