Maker Profile – making it 2015-17: Helen Faulkner

Maker Profile – making it 2015-17: Helen Faulkner
As Craft NI's making it Programme comes to a close, and ahead of the Maiden Voyage exhibition celebrating the programme, we talk to some of the makers who've been involved. Next up, Helen Faulkner guides us through her process, background, and more.



Hi Helen! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into making?

Originally from Belfast I initially studied Contemporary Crafts in England before beginning the CCOI Pottery Skills course, in Thomastown, to improve the technical side of my work.

Thomastown gradually worked its charm on me and I worked with several great potters over nearly seven years. More recently I moved back to Northern Ireland to take part in the making it Programme. As part of the programme I was placed at South Eastern Regional College in Downpatrick for the first six months and then Down Arts Centre for another 18 months. Alongside the workshop space I take part in business training as well as working alongside seven other great crafts people.

Can you tell us a bit about your making process and how the making it programme has helped?

The majority of my work is designed to be used at home in the kitchen so my design process usually starts there and then after a couple of sketches I’ll start working on the wheel, throwing variations until I'm happy.

All my work is thrown on the potters wheel, and the pots will be coated in a smooth cream slip and then eventually glazed in a variety of colours.

Working on the making it Programme has really focused the time I have in the studio on making, it’s very easy to get distracted with posting on social media or sending off a quick email. By being able to separate making from business I’m a lot more productive. Another important thing that I have taken from the programme is the networking with a whole new audience. Being in Down Arts Centre has introduced me to new makers and clients.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend my spare time cooking, I love spending time in the kitchen making dinner for friends although I usually end up with a lot of dishes to do because I like to use all the pots I’ve collected over the years!

My dog Sheva, who spends her days in the studio with me keeping an eye on things, takes up the rest of my day with walks.

Where can people currently see or buy your work?

I sell my work in craft and design outlets across Northern Ireland, Ireland and the UK. Customers can always find my work for sale on my website or from the craft shop in Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, where I currently have my studio.

What are you looking forward to the most about the exhibition?

I’m really looking forward to seeing how far each of us have brought our businesses over the last two years. That’s something that most of us would never have done on our own, have an overview stretching over two years, it’s exciting.

Where would you like to see your business in a year’s time? Do you have any big plans for 2017?

This year will see a lot of change for my business, I’ll be moving into a new studio when the making it Programme finishes. I’ll also have a solo exhibition in Down Arts Centre in December, it will be an opportunity to showcase my large scale work and interiors features.

Find out more about 'Maiden Voyage', the 'making it' group's upcoming exhibition, which launches on 23 March in the University of Ulster, Belfast, here.

'making it' is supported by Invest NI, as well as the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.