Helen Martino makes ceramic sculpture which embody a sense of narrative. Each piece within a series explores an element of the story through a change in scale, movement, composition or colour.
‘I am fascinated by body language within both the moving and still image. I find inspiration, for example, in the exaggerated and stylised movements expressed by actors in silent movies – but equally interesting to me is the way in which narrative is depicted within Mogul and Persian miniature paintings. Here, a still gesture, combined with often intricate and symbolic composition, captures a moment which tells both a past and a future story. My sculptures, often intimate in size, relate to this single moment where great, or small, events in people’s lives are revealed by gesture and communication.
Having been trained as a functional potter/designer it has taken me years to realise that sculptural works, unlike pots, do not necessarily need openings to reveal the inside. I have slowly gained the confidence and the certainty that volume, in a sculptural form, is revealed through the form itself. As a result the volume is all the more powerful because of its containment. In this work I am using this notion of inside and outside, exploring the tension between form, surface, imagination and communication.
For me it is not just the form of the sculpture that matters but also its surface. Here there is the chance to build up layer on layer of texture, pattern and colour that gives each piece its individual character, mood and story. I have been working with print on clay and have been rediscovering traditional methods of printmaking such as lithography and Lino cuts.
I am finding that my past, present and my future, my friends and the things that happen day to day have become sources of inspiration in themselves.
I am lucky to be a potter and still to be learning and changing and enjoying my work.’