Helen Whittaker joined Barley Studio in 1998 and is an award-winning designer and maker of stained-glass windows and metal sculpture, directing restoration painting alongside her new design work. She is a Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters (FMGP), a Liveryman and Court Member of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers, winning, judging and chairing the judging panel for many Stevens Competitions, a Craft Scholar of the Prince’s Foundation, receiving the ‘Hancock Medal’, and a Brother of the Art Workers’ Guild, London. Helen has an MA in Visual, Islamic and Traditional Arts from the Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture, a BA (Hons) from the University of Sunderland in 3D design in glass and ceramics, and a Foundation Degree in Business Management (FdA) from Leeds Metropolitan University. In 2019 Helen was selected to help promote the United Kingdom Government’s international ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign to showcase British talent in the creative sector.
Juliette MacDonald completed her PhD at the University of St Andrews in 2002. She is Professor of Craft History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh and International Dean at Shanghai International College of Fashion and Innovation, Donghua University, China, and Distinguished Research Fellow, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Canada. She was Principal-Investigator of the AHRC Network Researching Grant “Naked Craft”, examining the postcolonial, geopolitical relationships between local identities and local modes of production across Nova Scotia, Canada and Scotland, UK. Her current research focuses on craft, design and material culture and their relationship with creativity, place and identity. She writes on craft, heritage and design theory and practice, and is co-editor of Styling Shanghai (Christopher Breward and Juliette MacDonald, Bloomsbury, 2019). In 2020 Juliette received the Hongqiao Friendship Award in recognition of her role as an envoy for transnational education in Shanghai.
Helen and Juliette met at a conference in September 1998. Helen was about to begin working at Barley Studio; Juliette was about to start her PhD. Twenty-four years later the time seems right to bring their skills together to create a monograph reflecting on Helen’s work and its relationship with craft practices and processes. Time at Cove Park will provide an opportunity for them to focus on framing and developing this exciting collaborative output for publication.
Image: Helen Whittaker design in progress, 2018 ©Helen Whittaker 2018