We battled hightide & navigated our way over bridges & waterways in Venice (who knew the canal seeps over the walls & intrudes straight into the streets!) to arrive at Helene’s house. A high ceilinged apartment with terracotta tiled floor displaying her own hand-painted silks, cottons & linens acting as curtains, cushions, lampshades & artwork, complemented in colour with her husbands oil paintings of Venice.
Her husband was her mentor. He worked largely with geometrics and his paintings line & brighten the walls of her home, as Bach is playing in the background.
She explains that creating is like the movement of dance for her, like music & its rhythm. I can see this in her long hand-painted panels. Her fabric appears as stained glass panels (but more beautiful & not religious) as the light shines through her circles & visible brush-stroked lines; inkiness with a free hand; loose with movement as colours merge & blur. Her shapes mimic jellyfish and anemone, then dragons, glowing paper lanterns, feathers, the wind & movement of the watery canals which surrund her. You could look for hours and see different colours & shapes.
Helene works downstairs & outside in the Spring & Summer months only. Like me, she hibernates for the Winter (perhaps she is also part bear). She is seasonal in her colour & creativity. When I met her she was dressed head to toe in indigo, her own work manipulated into a scarf tied around her neck, a Japanese Shibori bracelet & loose gypsy pants in blue- she is a French Venetian version of my bestie, Sally Campbell, red hair & all!