Helen Feiler Gallery
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Biography

 

Helen Feiler is a member of a well-known and respected family of artists. Her father, Paul Feiler is an internationally renowned modernist painter from the St. Ives School and her mother, June Miles, is also a painter working in St Just where she has a gallery.

Born in 1952, Helen went to school in Bristol where her father was Head of Painting at Bristol Art School, and spent her early childhood holidays at the family home in Kerris, near Newlyn. Helen immersed in art from birth, shared her family and home with some of the UK’s best-known artists, including William Scott and Delia Heron, who were her Godparents.

Helen says because of this environment, she feels that she has been an artist from birth and as a 10-year-old cleared the coal cellar at their home in Bristol and turned into her first studio. Here she confesses to developing an obsession with wax, the medium she uses today in her jewellery process.

In 1969 Helen went to Falmouth School of art where she completed a foundation course, before taking a degree course at Gloucestershire College of Art and Design in Cheltenham. She also studied at Goldsmiths College, London, where she received an art-teaching certificate and did a lot of printmaking. During this period, Helen had a studio above Penwith Galleries, St. Ives, using her skills as a printmaker to create unique wallpapers and limited edition silkscreen prints. She regularly exhibited paintings at the Newlyn Gallery and Penwith Gallery, as well as galleries in London, Germany and Bristol.

In the late 1980’s, Helen met Alex Everitt, well known for his skills as a jeweller, working from his workshop in Mousehole. Helen spent 5 years attending lessons at Alex’s workshop and began developing her unique restrained and effortless style and method of jewellery making. In 1993, Helen held her first exhibition of jewellery at the Newlyn Gallery and during this time was exhibiting and selling through numerous galleries in Cornwall, London and New York.

She opened her own gallery – the Helen Feiler Gallery - in the heart of the fishing port of Newlyn, in 1998, which is where she also lives. During three busy decades, she somehow found the time and energy to exhibit extensively, enjoying solo and mixed shows of her paintings and jewellery in Britain, Germany and the U.S.A.

In the past few years, Helen has been spending time on the island of Lamu off the cost of Kenya where she has a studio in the Diamond Beach Village that her daughter Rachael runs.

Helen has presented as part of the spring 2007 season at the Tate St. Ives a show of jewellery that made history, as this is the first time the Tate, whether in London, Liverpool or St. Ives has mounted an exhibition of jewellery. She has also produced a series of six different designs that have been on sale in the gallery’s shop.

Helen says she is inspired by beautiful objects from bronze-age Celtic chains and rings to the florid vegetal inventions of Art Noveau, early stone age art through to contemporary work, this wide appreciation and love of aesthetic, is she says, absorbed by her subconscious and resurfaces in her work.

She uses stones, crystals and fossils in her jewellery, experimenting with size, scale, weight, texture and volume which she encases in twists of silver and gold, evoking a celebration of their beauty and complex design. Each piece is a celebration of natural beauty, of stone, colour and the ephemeral quality of light.

“I am making this jewellery for people who come along and collect it like talismans,” says Helen.

“Scintillating and superb ….Her necklaces link past and present. Boadicea might have worn them.” Hilary Spurling, award-winning author.