Helen Cockburn


Helen CockburnHelen Cockburn



I work mainly with found materials - wood, stone, string, paper and metal - built up in layers over a painted surface and then reworked with combinations of paint, pencil, pen and ink. The materials are collected from around my house and garden, from the street or beach and recycled from discarded work, old books and scraps of card and paper.  Over the past few years I have also used a formal grid structure which has endless permutations in terms of composition, colour and texture, particularly in its potential for variations in scale.  More recently my work has become more three-dimensional, breaking out of the grid into larger, more self-contained mixed media assemblages.  My aim is always to provoke and stimulate the imagination by suggestion, enabling narratives and associations to arise intuitively rather than consciously.

The gouache and collage works on paper are more illustrative.  The picture plane is divided into multiple sections using flatter, bolder colours with a cast of characters and the occasional hint of narrative.

 'It is signs which have no exact meaning that provoke a magic sense.' Miro


My background is in editorial and book illustration. Books are my great love aIthough I spent several years working on paintings which explored the abstract qualities of colour.  I now work mainly with found objects, paint and collage, still fascinated by the relationship between words and images but with the talismanic power of historical places, objects and relics - real or imaginary - my main area of interest. 

I live and work in rural north-east Suffolk and over the last six years have spent more and more time working with learning-disabled adults and teenagers, providing art workshops on a regular basis, a job I find hugely rewarding.  I am particularly interested in encouraging people to use their imagination through art, an approach which helps overcome the 'fear factor' and enables them to experiment and enjoy the freedom to play and make discoveries through their own work.

With the support of Artbox, a not-for-profit group set up to support our activities, we intend to build a unique community resource for this area of Suffolk.  Please look on the links page for website details.

Exhibition History

December 2014Artbox Christmas Tree at the Festival of Trees and Angels at St Mary's, Halesworth, Suffolk
October 2014Artbox at Halesworth Arts Festival, The Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk
OngoingThe House on The Hill Gallery, Chediston, Halesworth, IP19 0AE
8 - 23 October 2011Halesworth Arts Festival Exhibition at The Cut, Halesworth
August 2010The Garden Gallery, Museum of Farnham, Surrey.
5 August - 19 August 2009Farnham Museum, East Street, Farnham, Surrey
4 July - 29 August 2009Suffolk Showcase 2009 at Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery, The Market Cross, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 1BT Tel 01284 762081
2009Harleston Gallery, Harleston, Norfolk
2009Re + New, 63a The Thoroughfare, Woodbridge, Suffolk
2009The Cork Brick Gallery, Earsham Street, Bungay, Suffolk, NR35 1AG
25 July - 13 August 2008Halesworth Gallery, Steeple End, Halesworth, Suffolk
8 June - 21 July 2008Suffolk Showcase, Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery
7/8, 21/22, 28/29 June 2008Open Studio at The House on the Hill, Chediston, Halesworth, Suffolk
May 2008The Greyfriars Art Centre, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
17 May - 26 May 2008Suffolk Open Studios Showcase Exhibition at Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham, nr Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
November 2007Solo exhibition at The Fisher Theatre, Broad Street, Bungay, Suffolk
2006Suffolk Open Studios
2005Buckenham Gallery, Southwold
2004Harleston Gallery, Harleston, Norfolk