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Author Topic: AOTM May 2011 - Helen Gorick  (Read 7771 times)
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« on: April 30, 2011, 12:39:12 AM »

Helen Gorick

I trained as a Silversmith at Plymouth College of Art & Design some 22 years ago and was fortunate enough to receive funding from The Princes Trust to set up my own business. I was very much inspired by nature, probably as a result of growing up in the countryside and used to sell my work to Galleries as far afield as Cumbria and Devon and was a regular on the craft fair circuit.

Some pieces I made for an exhibition.


Most recent silver smithing. The butterfly is removable and can be worn as a pendant or brooch.
I have dipped in and out of the trade ever since and as such whenever I saw a piece of jewellery I liked, my first thought was always “I can make that for a fraction of the cost”.
Jewellery had to take a back seat for a while due to the inconvenience of being seriously ill with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (which I won’t dwell on here but am totally comfortable chatting about) but once I was feeling stronger what better way to fill my time but to make bead jewellery  Grin I’d seen a necklace in a local shop that I liked but was having trouble finding a glass bead pretty enough to recreate one for myself. The good ‘ole internet came up trumps and the first UK bead maker I found was Sally Carver. After several hours leading to days later I was well and truly hooked and itching to have a go myself.
I emailed Sally and booked a day’s one to one tuition. Sal was great and I soaked up her knowledge like a sponge and was delighted when the next day my beads arrived. I took them everywhere with me and would show them to anyone that was unfortunate enough to be with me for more than 2 minutes. I couldn’t believe that I had made them Shocked

My first ever beads made under the guidance of Sally Carver.

Within days, the shed that was being built in the garden for general garden shed type use was earmarked for my studio, I was originally going to occupy just a small corner with my jewellers bench and tools! Today I call it Helen’s Haven and will often go out there and just sit with a cuppa-strange girl that I am. I ordered a Nortel Minor burner and everything I needed and stuck it on a 0% for 9 months credit card. I was that desperate to get going I’d worry about paying for it later.
My husband, being very business minded, soon began to see an opportunity for me to make some money out of beads and encouraged me to start selling my work. I am sometimes my own worst enemy and wouldn’t sell anything that I didn’t consider perfect -although I cringe at some of the beads I sold in the early days now Embarrassed My dad has a wonderful saying and that is “Distance leads enchantment to the eye” and he is right, sometimes those little things that are imperfections to me are a work of art to someone else.

The first beads I considered good enough to sell (at the time, they wouldn’t pass the Helen Gorick quality control test now)
Since I started my lampwork journey I have been lucky enough to have taken courses fairly regularly and enjoy the challenge of working in ways and with designs that I would not naturally do. I took the intermediate course with Di East and Sally Carver in which I felt I made huge general progress in lots of areas. I have also taken classes with Michael Silberberg, Laura Sparling, Astrid Riedel and most recently my total bead heroine-Kristina Logan. In September I will be heading up to Mango Beads studio for a day with Carla Di Francesco.

Beads from the Astrid Riedel course.

I admire many bead makers for many different reasons. Corina Tettinger for her adaptability, Kristina Logan for her precision, Sarah Moran and Carla Di Francesco for their use of colour, Anouk Jasperse for her flare with silver glass, and numerous Japanese style bead makers for the sheer skill involved. There are also many here on Frit Happens whose work and business acumen I admire greatly too. The knowledge I have gained from lots of you by “working” this forum night and day has helped me enormously. Also I have had several  “eureka” moments at many a glassy get together by watching some of you working so thank you for that  Kiss

My inspiration comes from all around me, my mood on the day and the colours of the glass itself which after many years of working with silver is a refreshing change. I am inspired by fashion and it’s colours and patterns too, a great excuse to hit the shops “I’m just doing a bit of research love!” The colours in nature never cease to amaze too and my new found love of macro photography has opened up a whole new world as the close up shots really allow you to see the range of colours hidden within. My all time favourite colour combination for beads is my beloved pinks and greens as seen on my banner etc.

“Spring Garden” set


I’m not sure I have a “style” as such although I think people can tell it’s my beads when they see them. I suppose neat and tidy could be used to describe my work which goes back to when I was at art college as I was constantly being told to “stop being so neat, paint more freely, make a mess girl” The thought of being “messy” fills me with horror, don’t get me wrong, I can do messy when it comes to houses, especially since glass over took my world  Wink


A skill that still frustrates me immensely and I would love to master is the use of silver glass, my results are so hit and miss that I tend to shy away from using it despite that fact I love the effects you can get. I tend to make sets of beads more than focals so consistency is important to me, maybe that’s my problem with the silver thing, it has a mind of it’s own!
 
Best silver glass bead results to date and still not been able to repeat it  Angry


My favourite bead from the Kristina course would have to be the one I am most proud of at this moment in time. There are several reason for this, I have been struggling to get decent holes on BIG big hole beads and watching Kristina work really helped me to achieve this by using her “tuning fork” technique. I also felt I finally got the “dragging dots” thing and to think all the dots were applied using a whole rod of glass! I deffinately want to make more of these.


I think of myself as a generally happy and cheerful person-grateful to still be here-that is fairly relaxed most of the time (kids, husbands and life can get in the way of that sometimes) and I think this comes across in my work with the colours I use. As said before I am a bit of a perfectionist in the things I do and strive to have everything neat and tidy in my work which can be a disadvantage as well as a positive thing.
As well as an easily reproduced range of jewellery using my beads which I have started to sell via small local clothes boutiques, I am currently working on big focal beads. As I said I tend to work small and in sets so am pushing myself on this one. My aim is to come up with an unusual way of combining them with silver work to be worn as jewellery to make some one off, exhibition type pieces.

« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 12:14:18 PM by garishglobes » Logged

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