Glass-maker Helen Slater Stokes creates stunning three-dimensional pieces often depicting landscapes remembered from her childhood
A Lancashire-born artist was recently chosen to exhibit her work at a leading international design show.
Showing her glasswork on the Future Heritage stand at Decorex International in London, Helen Slater Stokes was one of 14 artists chosen to exhibit. Delighted to be part of the major interiors exhibition, Helen says: “Showing on the Future Heritage stand at Decorex was amazing. It allowed me to expand the way I look at my work, creating a dialogue which allowed these art glass pieces to become something more, within the context of interior design.
“The show has introduced new networks and synergies which promise to project my glass-making practice forward, in addition to creating new contacts and friendships, with other makers that will last forever. It was a fabulous experience.”
Helen draws inspiration from the surrounding countryside in her intricate glasswork pieces creating virtual landscapes in three dimensional forms within the glass.
The fascination with landscape and particular places is something Helen recognises, as she attempts to capture environments from her childhood which have since changed.
Many of her landscapes are based on places near her hometown in Lancashire and her current home in Oxfordshire, all of which have an emotional resonance to her. These works fulfil a need to capture these locations and preserve their emotional associations, as she remembers them.
Helen considers the world such a hectic place with time passing quickly and this is her attempt to stop the movement of time and capture particular moments and scenes forever in glass.
Helen recalls: “My great grandparents lived in Blackburn, with my grandmother. My great grandfather struggled to find work in the mills and as a result they later moved to Aintree, Merseyside, when my grandmother was 19. Although my grandmother stayed in the Merseyside area, my great grandparents moved to Darwen some years later and my mother used to spend her school holidays with them.”
Helen’s glasswork features familiar landscapes, often on the edge of green belt or across arable land, that are subject to transformation, as towns spread and land use changes.
She produces works which range in scale from interior table top pieces to life-size outdoor sculptures and she has also created bespoke site-specific designs for public and private spaces.
Having set up her workshop, after graduating from the RCA she gained a great deal of experience working on both corporate and private design projects, such as a bespoke crystal glass staircase for a private home and creating annual awards for the Cabinet Office.
With her focus on the ability of glass to create optical illusions, while communicating an ethereal notion of image, Helen explains: “As a glassmaker, I have become intrigued by glass’s illusory qualities and how an image is perceived when embedded in this optical material.”
Following her involvement with Future Heritage at Decorex International last month, renowned applied arts and design critic and curator Corinne Julius, who selected this year’s design-makers commented: “This year was a very successful one, with sales, commissions and potential new galleries for the makers involved. I was delighted to include Helen Stokes in Future Heritage, as her work appeals to everyone.”
“Her landscapes, which depict now destroyed views, have a real resonance with the public as well as with interior designers and architects, who are keen to work with Helen on various projects in the future.”
“The idea of Future Heritage is to make interior designers and architects aware of the skills and creativity that contemporary makers can add to their projects and Helen certainly did that. She received numerous serious enquiries, gained commissions and sold several pieces.”