The coastal landscape, especially it’s wild untamed waterline edge features strongly in Helen’s work. She is inspired by the inherent beauty of patterns found in coastal rock formations and fascinated by the internal cavernous negative spaces which are created in the rock through interaction with the elements and marine life. Tafoni (singular: tafone) are small cave-like features found in granular rock such as sandstone and granite with rounded entrances and smooth concave walls and provide inspiration for many of Helen's sculptures..
The coastal rock of Hook Head is also rich with fossil formations created by the layering of location history. The Artist compares people to these coastal rocks as we too are also imprinted upon & shaped by our interaction with our surroundings, layer upon layer from our earliest years onwards . The equine form is used as a timeless symbol of the physicality of journeying and abstracted to incorporate material and motifs from the Hook peninsula. Trees are used as a symbol of deep connection to environment and seed pods to represent migration and dispersion.
Within each of her sculptures the Artist uses steel armatures for reinforcement & strength. The sculpting process of her Tafoni inspired pieces involves a gradual build up of layers, each layer being manipulated to echo the honeycomb cavernous rock structures. She uses her skills to replicate surface textures & patterns found in the rock structures local to her home place and integrates them into her sculptures thus imprinting her idea that we each are a unique product, shaped by our environment. When the sculptural work is completed oil paints are used to reinforce themes and motifs as evident in pieces such as ‘Tafoni Earth Horse’ - where the ebb & flow of tidal activity & erosion is hinted at in the use of line & colour. All her sculptures are individually hand sculpted & the work process varies depending on shape, form & complexity of the piece.