1977-1979 Central Saint Martin’s, London 1974-1977 Camberwell School of Arts and Craft, London
Helen David is a London-based visual artist, textile designer and founder of the ground-breaking design house English Eccentrics. Having established her earlier career in fashion-textiles, with her garments worn by the likes of Prince and Mick Jagger, she now works predominantly in fine art. Textiles remain Helen’s central medium, but taking a critical step back from producing clothing, she now interrogates the role of textiles in our social fabric. Cosy ’craft’ textile objects are subverted, destabilising their positioning as innocuous, feminised media. Pincushions are transformed through scale and subject matter, from soft souvenirs into sites of social inquiry. The embroidered surfaces of Helen David's contribution to Cure3, Hold My Hand, gives it a vibrant yet intimate feeling. Its playful aspect carries a message both back and front that is felt as very poignant in light of recent experiences with lockdown and social distancing and also the cause at hand in this art project: namely thinking of people who are facing a life-sentencing diagnosis with Parkinson’s. The message of the importance of ‘friendship and love’ and the intimate action to ‘hold my hand’ is rendered more personal through the intricate craftsmanship and bold colours of the pincushion, yet its irony is brought home by the distancing effect of the Perspex cube in which it is held.