Frankly, The Folksy Magazine

Essential Kit – Helen Hallows

by Emily. Average Reading Time: almost 2 minutes.

Sunshine Aug 10

Helen Hallows creates original artwork using ink, collage and stitch, “I aim to capture fleeting moments that catch my eye”. Helens collection includes artwork, coasters, bunting, greetings cards, and porcelain homewares. With such a range of products I was keen to know what’s in her essential tool kit?

1. Stretching tape. I work on watercolour or pastel papers with ink washes so I always use stretching tape to keep the paper flat.

Inks. I love the little bottles of pure colour lined up in my studio. They give an intense, permanent colour.

2. I apply the inks with a brush or Chinese calligraphy bamboo pen.

3. I collect vintage papers: old book pages, endpapers and book jackets, sheet music, vintage wrapping paper and wallpaper. I supplement these with book binding papers, scrapbooking papers and paper that I’ve painted or drawn on myself.

4. My trusty Elna sewing machine. Called a ‘Quilter’s Dream’ it suffers me forcing it to sew through paper and stitch freely. I’ve had it for fifteen years and it’s never caused me any trouble. (Of course, I’ve just given it the kiss of death!)

5. Cottons. Something else for me to search out when I’m in junk shops and at carboot sales. I have hundreds of them and love the gradations of hue and shade. I have them in an old set of tool drawers with a drawer for each colour.

My letterpress H stamp. I finish each piece with my makers’ mark, a HH stamped with this letterpress letter. I have only one and it sometimes goes astray which fills me with panic.

6. My ‘Helen Hallows’ stamp. This features on the back of all my original artworks and as a transfer onto the bottom of my ceramics. I stamp my bags with it at fairs, and it’s on my blog, website, business card and all correspondence. I’m even thinking of getting it tattooed!!

You can have a right old nosey around Helens Folksy shop here Helen Hallows. She is also exhibiting at The Sock Gallery in Loughborough from 30th November – 15th January 2012.

If you have an essential crafting kit you’d like to share please send it to

Kit photograph ©Lyndsey James Photography 2011.