Helena Schepens (1981) studied silversmithing at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (BA + MA, 2000-2004) and at the Royal College of Art in London (MA, 2004-2006). Since 2007 she runs her own workshop in Antwerp.
Helena won the Rotary International Award for Silversmithing (2004), the Goldsmith’s Company Award for Silversmithing (2006) and the The New Designers Award (2006).
Se became finalist in the Loewe Craft Prize 2017 and was invited by the Loewe Foundation as a jury member in the 2018 edition. As well in 2018, Helena’s work was included in the ‘best of Europe’ exhibition at Homo Faber in Venice. Her work has been in various exhibitions in Belgium, The Netherlands, UK, Germany, Switserland, Spain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Japan and the USA .
She was selected for the 15th, 17th, 19th and 20th Silver Triennial (Goldschmiedehaus Hanau) and for the European Prize of Applied Arts (BeCraft) in 2015 and 2019. Some of the international art fairs she took part in are Collect, Inhorgenta, Ambiente, PAN and Lineart.
In 2007, Helena received the ‘Sterckshof commission’ for the silvermuseum (now called DIVA) in Antwerp. From 2009 till 2013 she designed and made the Henry van de Velde Awards, and got commissioned a reliquary for the Abbey van Park in Heverlee in 2021. Princess Léa of Belgium visited Helena’s studio in 2021 and included her work in the book ‘Métiers d’art’ (l’Eventail Editions) on art and craftsmanship.
Leonie Burkhardt, Sweden
Leonie Burkhardt is a textile designer, researcher, and artist based in Gothenburg, Sweden. She is passionate about exploring the craft of weaving and pushing its limits by using digital tools. She sees the loom as a forming tool and tries to create three-dimensionality embedded in flat woven surfaces. To her, modern craft means combining new technologies and digital tools with traditional techniques and manual manipulations. She sees herself as a designer and a weaver, fusing the old craft of weaving and current developments in material, technology, and craft research to create woven objects showing traces of the human touch and digital tools. She works at the boundary of textile and object and emphasizes textile qualities such as material compositions, rich textures, and vibrant colors. Her work process is playful and intuitive and derives from a place of curiosity. With her pieces, she wants to spark joy for textile art and the craft of weaving.
O’Shea is an Irish based artist who has exhibited internationally. She has developed a practice of sculptural making that directly engages with issues of waste and recycling. Through the reuse of existing materials, she creates forms that mimic the natural world and engage our relationship to it.
After exploring Creative Textiles and Fine Art Textiles, O’Shea attained a degree in Contemporary Applied Art in 2017, and MA by Research, from MTU Crawford College of Art and Design in 2021, where she focused on new narratives for waste. Since graduating O’Shea has exhibited widely in London with Ting-Ying Gallery, as part of Collect Art Fair with DCCI, and in the Venetian Homo Faber Event 2022.
A residency undertaken in Iceland, in 2015, has left a lasting impression on the work now made by O’Shea. Observing the resourceful use of materials and extracting more from waste/resources is what impressed and remained with her. The enduring nature of plastics became her focus.
O’Shea‘s research asks us to consider a new relationship to waste plastics. Selection and connection are foregrounded within the tactile nature of her practice. Spending time with a material and ‘thinking through making’ (Ingold 2013) highlight the material’s qualities. The versatility of the material is legendary, and she enjoys investigative exploration and the transformative processes it provides. This engagement and interaction inspire other perceptions. No longer seeing the waste ‘as matter out of place’ (Douglas 1960), her work disrupts our sensibilities through subversive aesthetics and offers new possibilities in our relation to unwanted waste.
Researching deep-water hydrothermal vents where life on this planet is thought to have begun, inspired me to create futuristic creatures from waste plastics. The sun’s red rays penetrate deep water less than other colours, and so red creatures are nearly invisible. This phenomenon informs the colour choice for my work. The shape of my work results from the structural make up of life around these hydrothermal vents, responding to the material I am using, and my imagination. All these elements grow and develop together then culminate a new piece or a series of works.
Saar Scheerlings, the Netherlands
Saar’s Talisman Sculptures are made from old mattresses that are cut up into layers and put into a sewn cover of hand painted silk. The layers are then bound together in a self invented technique, referencing the principles of weaving. The accumulation of traditional and new crafts, discarded and highly valuable materials yields a series of sculptures that show us about emergent crafts and emergent meanings. It’s as if they are waiting to be adopted by a viewer, to become meaningful and protect.
Saar’s process is like a trade route or harbor, where materials, crafts and shapes encounter and cross-pollinate. This has resulted in the series of Talisman sculptures, but also work in ceramics, collage, glass and installation. From objects for daily use, to objects that show about daily needs like devotion, ritual and protection in sculptures. Saar graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven, and considers her time working as a cook and theatre designer as equally formative for her current practice. She lives, works, renovates and gardens in an old farm in rural Burgundy, France.
Elly Glossop, Denmark
Elly Glossop is an UK born artist who lives and works in Copenhagen. After completing a BA at the Royal Danish Art Academy in Bornholm, Elly received her MA in 2020 from the Royal College of Art in London. During her studies she was awarded several prizes, including a scholarship from the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) which allowed her to take an external plaster mould making course with Ed Bently in Stoke on Trent. In 2020 Elly was an artist in residence at Guldagergaard International Research Center, where she focused on wood firing. Elly has exhibited widely in Denmark, London, New York and Taiwan and has received several awards including the RJ Washington Prize (London) and the Franz Rising Award (Taiwan, Second Prize). She was also a finalist in the Officine Saffi Award in Italy in 2021.
Blurring the boundaries between perceptions of the psyche (memory/dream/imagination), Elly’s work explores the sublime and almost ethereal qualities of clay, through which a universe materialises based on formations found throughout the natural world. By simulating and recreating these textural elements imprinted in her subconscious, they manifest into otherworldly forms and artefacts. Bodies of work are constructed around a particular theme, or technique of making, and are often inspired by geological formations or phenomena. During Elly’s time at the Royal College of Art she developed a unique process of making called ‘increment forming’ where she reinvented the traditional technique of slip casting. Utilizing plaster and clay in liquid form, she uses this technique to express geological visions through waves of fluid movement. With haptic knowledge, and understanding the relationship between gesture and fluidity, each layer is fixed, collapsing natural attrition into minutes rather than centuries.
Joaquim Falcó and Meritxell Tembleque come from sculpture and ceramics and attracted by glass they met at Barcelona Shool Glass in 1992. They discovered in glass a medium for experimentation and expression. They started working together and continue to do so, seduced every day by it.
In 1995 they went to the Czech Republic in order to deepen their knowledge of sculptural glass techniques. Meritxell Tembleque and Joaquim Falcó are among the representatives of the New Glass movement in Spain. They chose glass as the medium of their artistic trajectory. In the landscape of art glass and especially on the European stage it is not rare to find couples that sign together the authorship of their works. This Catalan couple, however, contribute to the artistic effort in a way that is similar to the theory of communicating vessels: ideas and technical realization are naturally shared and balanced.
Their joint work is meticulous and thoughtful, they deeply investigate a concept through series of sculptures. They are remarkable in their creativity and in their relentless effort to discover and explore new techniques and languages, while preserving their own style, maintaining true to themselves.
They believe that their creativity as an extension of the creativity of nature. They are interested in this feeling of unity. For them, glass represent, like no other material, the transformation and the constant flow of matter. They feel it as an expression of the polarity of nature: the solid and the liquid, the permanent and the impermanent; like the world’s paradox, of the constant flow and change.They are founding members of the Catalan Association of Glass Arts (ACAV) and their work has been selected and exhibited in: France, Germany, Japan, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Portugal.
They have participated in international glass events such as: Biennal Internacional del Vidrio en Iberoamerica BIAVI 2022, Biennale of Glass Bulgaria IBG 2021, The Coburg Prize for Contemporary Glass 2014, European Glass Context 2008 and 2012, The International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa 2007 and in 2011 they were awarded the distinction of Master Glass Craftmen.
As a textile artist, Maria Pratas, recognised that her training in visual education, centered on visual content and two-dimensionality, drove the need to create in three-dimensional planes. In this sense, the materials she explores are directed towards the creation of textile sculptures of enlarged scale.
She takes journeys to eclectic destinations, where a visit to a craftsman’s workshop or to an industrial loom, in coastal or mountainous territories, is one of her itineraries. In her luggage she brings objects and memories that are triggers and from the knowledge of ancient craftsmen, she, as an artist, develops a fusion between several raw materials and the diverse ways of turning them into objects with stories.
Creatively, she traverses her atelier, where the territory of the textile always dominates the whole process. While creating, she is not distracted by time and, focused on her hands, the objects are sculpted thread by thread and the textile fibres are always close by.
Keen on eclectic artistic environments, where each piece has a functional and artistic language, she aims for her creations come to life and be displayed in environments and places where they can be unique and transformative.
Simone Post , the Netherlands
Simone Post (1990, Utrecht, the Netherlands) is a multidisciplinary maker with roots in textiles, based in Rotterdam. She graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven with honors in 2015 and has won numerous national and international awards. Post’s work delves deep into color, surface, and print. Her works breath colour and optimism but at the same time are always asking substantive questions. For Simone the finished product is not necessarily the most interesting aspect of the design process. She has a penchant for the process itself, experimenting to discover the hidden potential of materials and techniques. Seeing the act of play and making as the essence of all.
With her work Simone creates a new craft full universe with elaborate applications for material outcasts and fantastical candy objects. She creates outstanding projects for companies including Vlisco, Kvadrat, Adidas and Hermès as well as for her own collection. Her work has been exhibited worldwide from Brasil, China, Italy, India, US and has been acquired by multiple museums, including the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, and the Cooper Hewitt, New York.
Elysia Athanatos is a Cypriot artist based in Cyprus and Italy. She began her studies in London (Chelsey University of Fine Arts and Middlesex University of Fine Arts) but left within her studies to continue in Italy. She wanted to explore a different way of perceiving and making art, so she enrolled the Fine Arts Academy of Florence, where she got her degree in Sculpture.She first came in contact with ceramics in China, Jingdezhen ( Sanbao Artists Residency), emerging herself into a new material, porcelain and where for the first time sat on a potter’s wheel (self-taught by observing, feeling and not giving up).On her return to Italy, she in-deepened her ceramic studies in Faenza.
Her approach to clay (and of all the materials in general) is a fluid one (open minded). She began as an outsider in the ceramic world so her perception has no limits of right or wrong. What’s important is where she wants to arrive and being in complete connection with all the elements, forces and transformations in play, while on the journey.
There is a constant urge to overcome and develop herself, challenging the limits, to be able to transmit deep sensations into the work. She has had various group and solo exhibitions in Italy, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia and Korea and attended an Artist Residencies in Denmark (Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center) and in Estonia (the Kohila Symposium) where she discovered a passion in working with fire while Wood Firing. She has participated in Biennales such as in the 1st Biennale of Larnaca (Cyprus), where she won the award of Excellence and in the 11th Korean International Ceramic Biennale, where she now has a piece in the Gyeonggi Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art Collection.
Her work is also part of the collection in the Cyprus State Gallery of Contemporary Cypriot Art. This year she has been selected for the Biennial of the Faenza Prize. The important thing for her is to stay, as connected as possible, to the pure, clear mind needed, to materialize (and transmit) a feeling, thought or sensation!