Spotlight On…Helen Wilson of Helbent Books

We are delighted to have book maker Helen Wilson, of Helbent Books, join the Made in Kings Heath Open Studio Art Trail this year. We talked to Helen about her practice and hope you enjoy this insight into her work. 

As well as making books, Helen offers 1:1 book making courses in her Moseley studio. Further workshop information and booking details can be found at the foot of the article.

You can see Helens beautiful books at 3 Featherstone Road on the Art Trail. 

Made in Kings Heath 2018 Open Studio Art Trail is on Saturday 24th & 25th November.


What do you create Helen? Unique hand made books.

What materials do you work with? Paper, card, glue, fabric, acrylic inks, bookbinding tools.

What is your creative process? I start with piles of paper and card and create books plus I design the all book covers.

Where do you make your work? In my studio at home using mainly Victorian bookbinding equipment, including a Victorian paper cutting machine and book press.

Who & what is your inspiration?  The world around me – everything!

Is there anything or anyone in particular that has inspired your work?  Dada art – the European artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values.

Dadaism as a movement in art and literature was based on deliberate irrationality and negation of traditional artistic values.  In particularly Hannah Höch, who was a German Dada artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage.

How do you go about creating your work?  By looking at the world from different points of view and constructing unusual books.

Which aspect(s) of your work do you enjoy most?  Everything!

Have you always been a book binder?  I started making books as a young person and developed my skills over the years including some training in New York.  Initially I was self taught.  I am a member of the Society of Bookbinders and have done various courses in UK and New York.

How did you get started?   A love of books.

Where do you exhibit/ sell your work? At arts markets throughout the West Midlands including Moseley and Cheltenham Arts Markets, (see www.helbentbooks.co.uk for venues).

What have you been doing / making this year?  Developing Japanese wrap-around books. I’m inspired by all things Japanese, (see photographs below). 

What are your next / future plans / events? To carry on enjoying the bookmaking process and developing new bookmaking workshops


Helen Wilson Book Making Workshops – With 1:1 tuition, using step-by-step instructions you will create these beautiful hand made books.

 Venue:  1:1 workshops are held at Helen’s studio in Moseley. Dates:  By arrangement  Cost:  £95 including a delicious home-made lunch and all materials.

Helen Wilson is a book artist who has a book binding studio in Moseley.  She trained in book making in the UK and in New York and teaches book making workshops in schools and communities in Birmingham.  You can see Helen’s hand made books at Moseley and Cheltenham Arts Market.

For more details or to book a workshop please contact Helen on phone:                    0121 449 7661 / 07969 733029 email: hellen.wilson@sky.com 

web site:  www.helbentbooks.co.uk

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