Helena Jenkinson

i. I work as a potter, making small batch functional pieces, built by the hand, without the use of machinery. 

ii. I do this creative work because:
When using my hands to build and form, I feel completely connected to the material. The immersive experience of transferring my energy, passion and creativity through my hands and into functional pieces for others to enjoy and delight in brings me so much satisfaction. There is something overwhelmingly grounding about using ones hands to create a piece from clay. It connects the maker to the earth. 

iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
Patience and acceptance. Being able to let go of ideals and see the beauty in the imperfect. There is a great sense of peace that comes with this. 

iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Space. I have struggled along the way to find appropriate space for making pottery. Not only do you need space for efficiently drying out large, flat slabs of clay, you need a space that is able to accommodate a kiln. 

v. Creative childhood hobbies:
Making and storytelling! I grew up in a large family and my dad fostered within me a love for making and fed our creativity and imagination by telling us adventure stories he had made up. When making as a child, I would often have an abstract idea in my head and the gathering of materials and the process would be far more important and satisfying than the result ended up being. My sister and I used to love making perfume from petals and herbs we found in the Herefordshire village where we grew up. 

vi. Other creators who inspire you:
Textile artist Anni Albers
Potter Lucie Rie
A wonderful old family friend and potter, Susan Morris
…to name just a few.

vii. Training that has helped me in this career:
For a long time I worked in early years special educational needs. The pottery acted as a wind down and destresser after work and on weekends. But I think the patience and imagination I had to have in my career transfer well to pottery. 

viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
Undervaluing your work. A lot of people don’t realise the time and effort that goes into creating ceramics. This is only reinforced by the mass-produced products that can be purchased instantaneously and disposed of without thought. Value your work, believe in your work and don’t sell it for anything less than what it is worth. 

ix. Some proud career moments:
The first time I saw a photo of a stranger enjoying using my ceramics. Supplying a 50 piece dinnerware set  to a restaurant in the USA.   

x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
I’m still working that out! But I think it’s important to let go of expectations. Be prepared to face failure and embrace it. Enjoy and immerse yourself in every part of the process. Experiment constantly to find your style, and remember to see the value in every piece, each has its own story to tell.  

xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
To set up my own studio in the Okanagan where I’ll teach hand-building techniques to children.  

xii. If you want to see my work, go to:
My website:

First Pick Decor fall market 19th + 20th October. Heritage Hall, Vancouver.


Splash 2019


Stephanie Keung

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton