Five Questions With Heidi Helyard

Written by Heidi Helyard
on 26 April, 2019
Wonderful textures and colour – handmade jewellery by Heidi Helyard

Stepping into the FK spotlight this week is debut stallholder Heidi Heylard! With a background in textiles, this maker is all about colour and texture. Busily moulding and painting polymer clay in preparation for her Finders Keepers Sydney debut as we speak, we got to know a little bit more about this maker and her wearable art.

Talk us through a typical day in the life of Heidi Helyard.

Once I get my two children to school, I return home and have a calming cup of tea while I work out what needs to be done. I have worked as a freelance graphic designer for the past 16 years from home, so there will be work to do there and as well on my handmade jewellery business. My jewellery business is steadily growing and overtaking my graphic design work, so my home studio has been adapted to include a making/creating/packing space. This is very separate to my computer/graphic space. I really enjoy working across both disciplines though. It’s just me! It’s always been just me. I do all the things at the moment, from the admin and marketing to the social media management. The designing and prototyping, the making and finishing, keeping the online shop stocked up, and finally packing and sending orders!

Experimental designs – by Heidi Helyard
Stitched pendant – handmade jewellery by Heidi Helyard

What does the creative community mean to you?

I am used to working on my own, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t isolating at times! This is where the creative community really comes into play for me and it is VITAL. I began connecting with other like-minded creative makers on Instagram, and that has progressed to meeting makers at workshops, events, and markets like Finders Keepers!

I have now collaborated with several makers through the community, and that has been incredibly rewarding, challenging (in a good way!) and exciting. I enjoy being part of a very active and supportive community of polymer clay artists online, and regularly share my processes and approaches.
For my recent collaboration project with Denz + Co I shared our journey from the very beginning; from the experiments right through to the final collection. I have also begun a mentoring program for other polymer clay jewellery makers.

textures and colours in the design process – handmade by Heidi Helyard
Green, blue and orange ‘loose threads’ collection – handmade jewellery by Heidi Helyard

What can we expect to discover at your debut stall at Finders Keepers in Sydney? Will your collaboration with fellow stallholder Denz be making an appearance?

Shoppers will find a huge selection of Heidi Helyard statement studs and earrings, in all kinds of colours and patterns created from my signature ‘slabs’. Expect high tactility and blasts of colourful patterns hand-wielded using polymer clay. I will also be bringing some of my ‘scrap granite’ jewellery, and some of my handcrafted 3D painted pieces. I will also have some gorgeous pendants, including a special range which features mixed media and stitching. You’ll also be able to check out my limited edition trinket dishes and wall hangings.

I am also excited to be able to announce that myself and Denz +Co (who will also be at the Finders Keepers Sydney AW19 Markets) will both have with us a small (and new!) selection of our collaboration collection!

Denz + Co Collaboration – handmade jewellery by Heidi Helyard
3D texture painting – handmade jewellery by Heidi Helyard

You describe your work as unduplicated and unique -which we love. What is your advice to shoppers seeking a more unique, slow approach to consuming?

Look for special, artisanal pieces that really speak to you and that you just can’t walk past! Don’t buy items that are ‘on trend’ (or an item someone tells you is a ‘must have’) that you won’t wear/use/love next month or next year. Buy objects you expect to still love in 5 to 10 years time. Authentic designs that are not mass-produced never go out of fashion and should be collectable! Rare, handmade items also possess qualities beyond the surface ‘look’ of them, it’s also how they feel in your hand, how they are individually finished.

Usually you will be able to instantly recognise a maker’s voice/vision in their pieces, and owning a piece of someone’s personal artistic expression is a pretty special thing!

Mixed metallics – handmade jewellery by Heidi Helyard

What has been your proudest moment to date?

Oh gosh! Possibly being accepted as a debut stallholder at Finders Keepers?

Being a Frankie Good Stuff finalist last year was a huge highlight. I’ve done some pretty awesome collaborations with makers I admire, and I am really proud of all of those projects. But if I had to pick, having the opportunity to showcase my work at this wonderful gathering of makers is something I am as excited as I am proud of!

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