Helen Carnac

Helen Carnac is a maker, curator and academic who lives and works in London. Drawing, mark-making, the explicit connections between material, process and maker and an emphasis on deliberation and reflection are all central to her practice as a maker and thinker.
Carnac was awarded a Cultural leadership fellowship in the Crafts in 2009 in order to develop ideas about how the Crafts are communicated. She has curated the National touring exhibition ‘Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution’ in 2009 which has recently opened at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. In 2006 she was co-chair for the Association for Contemporary Jewellery’s conference Carry the Can® and she is actively involved in developing dialogue within the Crafts having developed numerous talks and events for makers over the past five years.

Her work is held in both National and International collections, including Racine Art Museum. She has taught extensively in the UK and USA including Virginia Commonwealth University and this May she will be running a studio Course at Penland Mountain School, North Carolina.

The Work.
These enamel vessels have been made during an intense period of making activity, in response to each other. Beginnings and endings overlapping – each a reflection of the other. The drawn base forms part of the process that initiates and binds the thinking and making of the marks.
I have always considered drawing to be a most significant part of my work and intrinsic to my practice as a metalworker and enameller. Over the last ten years my work has developed markedly with over-riding concerns of line, mass and landscape continually recurring. I aim to develop new ways of working where the drawn image is the focal point in a union of two-dimensional and three-dimensional works. This ongoing series of work is an expression of my fascination with mark-making in both two and three dimensions. I aim to record not only my thought process but also the connection of hand, eye and mind in a non-verbal discourse, whilst highlighting the cyclical nature of my making process and the marks and rhythms of my drawing process, which resonate and confer with my object-making processes. Repetition of mark is key and enables me to focus. I work mostly with vitreous enamels on steel. My primary aim is to draw with the material leaning towards techniques such as sgraffito. The combination of materials and my drawing methods have led to an ongoing body of works that I find rewarding and demanding. Firing for the most part only once, areas of the panels are ground and abraded to a matt finish in places, allowing the steel substrate to oxidise naturally, creating new relationships with the enamel; a crossing point between control and chance.

Born  1968, Redruth, Cornwall

 BA (Hons) Silversmithing, Jewellery and Allied Craft, London Guildhall University, Sir John Cass
1993  Fachhochschule fur Gestaltung, Schwabisch Gmund,  Germany

  Cultural Leadership Development Award: Cultural Leadership programme.
2008  Innovation in enamelling, Playing with Fire Exhibition, UK
2008  Third prize Juried exhibition, Metal Inclinations, USA
1996  Winner Carroll Foundation Award, Chelsea Crafts Fair
1996  Selected Index, Crafts Council
1996  Membership, Contemporary Applied Arts
1995  Runner-up Carroll Foundation Award
1995  Setting Up Grant, Crafts Council

Selected Exhibitions
  SOFA NY, with CAA
Collect, Saatchi Gallery, London with CAA
Intelligent Trouble, CAA London with David Gates,  David Clarke and Lin Cheung
2009  In Transit…84GHz, Munich
Collect, Saatchi gallery, London with Contemporary Applied Arts
Cluster, Installation at Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco
Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
2008  In response to…84GHz, Munich
Elizabeth Turrell and Helen Carnac, University of East Carolina
Playing With Fire, Juried Exhibition, Devon Guild of Craftsmen and touring
Collect, V&A, with Contemporary Applied Arts
2007  Process Works, 5 Jewellers: University of Hertfordshire Galleries and touring, catalogue
Medals: curated by Elizabeth Turrell: Museum fur Arbeit, Hamburg and touring, catalogue
Anti War Medals, Gallery I/O, Thomas Mann, New Orleans.
Collect at the V&A
2006  Collect at the V&A
2004  Anti War Medals exhibition, Curated by Velvet Da Vinci,  Touring: Electrum, London Norway and USA
2003  Celebrating Education, Contemporary Applied Arts, London
David Gates and Helen Carnac, Flow, London

  Co-curator with Craftspace of National touring exhibition ‘Slow’
2005  Collaborative commission with David Gates: Permanent installation of Furniture with enamel for Bilston Craft Gallery: Wolverhampton City Art Galleries
2005  Lead Artist Artquest, London: Forum project: lead debate on Contemporary Craft practice

Public Collections
Racine Art Museum’ s permanent collection, Wisconsin, USA

Public Commissions
  Collaborative commission with David Gates: Permanent installation of Furniture with enamel for Bilston Craft Gallery: Wolverhampton City Art Galleries
Lead artist
Artuest, London: Forum project: lead debate on Contemporary Craft practice

Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution, Editor, 2009
500 Enameled Objects, Lark Books, 2009
The Compendium of Contemporary Makers, Darling Publications, Germany, 2009
‘Enamel Experience’ UWE, 2007,
Process Works 5 Jewellers, Jan 2007, Site Projects,
Diaspora Cymreig, Makers of welsh origin working outside of Wales:
Publisher: Denbighshire County Council, Ruthin Craft Centre (28 Mar 2002)

  Penland School of Arts, North Carolina, USA
2008  University of East Carolina, North Carolina, USA
2007  Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA
University of East Carolina, North Carolina, USA
Millersville University, Pennsylvania, USA
2006- 2009  London Metropolitan University. Senior Lecturer
2002- 2006  London Metropolitan Universit: Research and Employability Manager
2001- 2002  Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication
Lead Tutor Foundation: 3D Design Pathway.
1999-2002  London Guildhall University. Visiting lecturer 




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