Helen Scalway

Helen Scalway

How did you become involved in artist’s books?

I trained as sculptor at Chelsea but became more and more interested in artists’ books as a means of enacting book/sculptural sequential ideas.  I also liked the modesty and portability of artists’ books, the way you can have a real one-to-one relationship with them and the way you can have a one-off book, or make a few, or many, and they can be inexpensive, accessible. So, my practice changed. 

What is the focus of your practice?

For some time, I have been working on the metaphor of the house as standing for the self, so my recent artist’s books have been exploring this. In 2018 I curated a show called ‘If We Were Houses’, inviting several professional artists to portray themselves as houses. I asked each artist: If you were a house, what kind of house would you be? This is because the question seems to me to be a revealing one, opening into a potentially innovative mode of self-portraiture: the house as a fertile metaphor for the self.   

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on a presentation on the ‘If We Were Houses’ project at The Towner Gallery in Eastbourne, Sussex. I am also thinking hard about a set of artist’s books, each one enacting different characters as ‘houses’.