Helen Vaughan completed her B.Tech in surface design at the Cape University of Technology in 1988. She spent her early years in the commercial fashion sector. In 1999 she undertook a short course in ceramics.
Essentially a self-taught artist, she now moves seamlessly between claywork, painting and printmaking. Her textile design background informs the marks she makes, while the cross pollination of different media motivates her experimental approach, sometimes using direct printmaking methods such as copperplate etching and embossing onto clay and sculpting on canvas.
Bowls, wall pieces and candleholders are an integral part of her range of ceramic ware with the emphasis on small, original editions. Sculptural vessels are crafted to interpret earthy inspiration in a sophisticated way. The intricate relationship that is developed between a grouping of several pieces encourages a conversation creating an original dynamic. These ceramics, as well as her oil paintings have earned her loyal following and are housed in numerous international collections.
The proximity to magnificent landscapes and ocean vistas of the South African West Coast speaks to Helen. Her work is an intuitive response to the vastness of this space where infinite horizons become a metaphor for the shifting patterns and rhythms of human existence.
Linear and textural detail of bone, stone and indigenous vegetation is interpreted in three-dimensional ceramic form, remaining true to the concept of a vessel to hold or contain. Paintings in oil explore the materiality of the surface, scarring, scratching and eroding to render an abstracted landscape. These speak to the essence of a physical or emotional experience stripped bare of superfluous elements.