Skip to main content
Sculpture (MA)

Helen Clarke

Helen Clarke lives in Hertfordshire and works in London. 


MA Sculpture, Royal College of Art, 2023.

First Class BA (Hons) Fine Art, University of Hertfordshire, 2020.



/ upcoming /

New Contemporaries, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, 2023

Knots and Tangles, Safehouse 1 & 2, London, 2023

New Contemporaries, Camden Arts Centre, London, 2024

/ past /

Hung, Drawn and Quartered, Standpoint, London, 2023

Wild Stone, Van Gogh House, London, 2022

Fresh Blood, Broadway Gallery, Letchworth, 2021

N:ascent, University of Hertfordshire Gallery, 2020

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesSculpture (MA)RCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, Ground, first and second floors

A terracotta Sheela-na-gig sits with her legs apart and her vulva splayed - she is a symbol of fertility

My practice engages with themes of scale and the materiality of place to interrogate the entanglements of contemporary relationships with the natural world. The complexities of extractivism and systems of agriculture, both of which leave their scars and traces, provide areas of research and generate physical forms which become entwined in the creation of works.

Thinking like a mountain as Aldo Leopard wrote, having a geological mindset, provides a lens to refocus our human timescale and to consider both ecological histories and futures.

I work with aspects of folklore and to nurture ideas of inherited wisdom and ecological care. Traditional crafts such as straw weaving are an endangered heritage that link us to the land.

Collection and foraging are an important part of my practice. Gathered whilst walking through a landscape, these materials, both the natural (wheat, stone, wood) and the discarded are recontextualised, creating sculptures that ruminate on cycles of nature and fertility, consumption and the body.

A circle of upturned wheat root systems cast in bronze
A close up show of a wheat root system and stems cast in bronze
Twelve upturned roots, eternalised in bronze (for the time being). The lunar sway of agrarian cycles - birth, growth and rebirth. A henge, a site of contemplation. With their roots skyward they anthropomorphise, become animate and create a space to consider time.
a single bronze cast wheat steam root system
Three upturned wheat stems cast in bronze


Series of 12 - Bronze.


Individually approx. 17 x 12 x 12cm
A piece a stone has a hole drilled through it with a plaited straw rope looped through it.

Blood: the oozing, scarlet droplet kind that seeps out from ruptured skin, throbbing. Globule. But old, crusted blood too; scabbed, rusty, the metallic taste of the remnants of violence. We are all stardust: stone, bone, worms, dreams, micro-plastics swimming in the cavern of a whale heart. The ancient memories of critters dead, spent, laminated across time; bonded in a sedimented sandwich of brittle chalkiness. Magnesium, zinc, iron; a list of vital life supports, printed in tiny text on the back of a box that promises an easily swallowed one-stop-shop for the post-hunter/gatherer. SLOW ENERGY RELEASE. Land softened over time; licked, teased, toiled, each caress a stroke of attrition. Granular. Blackened edges like the bitter, sooted skin of a potato charred in coals. Roasted flesh perhaps, carbon to carbon and always back to carbon. Dark, condensed mass; darkness so thick it forces breath from lungs, squeezes life to impossibility. Purged debris, spewed from subterranea, raised Phoenix, a gentle boil of incandescence. Imagine somersaulting, tumbling helplessly, thrown around by external forces for always - an unimaginable long always, longer even than that. Can you? The relief of stillness. Petrified beaches, cradled in an eternal matrix. Shores slowed to an imperceptible tide. Lithic microbes, tiny lapidaries just doing their thing. The rot of the earth. A palimpsest of epochs, of eras, of cycles of matter. The empty crib; a concave, a womb birthed. Jagged edges, skin slicing, green wood splicing. A tool, tooling; an agent of progress, a silent actor of modernity. Buried gift, gesture of hopeful reciprocity. Chthonic offering. Flowy, mutable vitality. Breeding stone, mother stone, mystic witchiness and twitch of the dowse. Lumpen conglomerate - sticky pudding of promise, open your glassy heart and tell of your stories, your entanglements, your crystalline configurations and reconfigurations, the creep of eons and the grind of ground. Speak of the hills; the slumping flesh of the land and the vicious juts of mineral, surface rupturing, shooting upwards in great slo-mo crashes of languorous waves. Sublime. Coldly unknowable, cool observer, last one standing at the party, waiting for the next crowd - what kind of havoc will this lot reek? Breath… wait…patience is your virtue.


Puddingstone, plaited wheat stems


29 x 14 x 7cm
a slab of plaster it stitched with wool, it connect to a smaller object made of jesmonite


Plaster, jesmonite, pigment, wool


165 x 47 x 2 cm
An arrangement of wheat straw plaited into God's eye decoration or harvest tokens
one hundred harvest tokens made of wheat straw and arrange don the wall in a grid of ten by ten
a corn dolly made of wheat straw

It has been said that one hundred harvests 

Are left in the land.

Soil stripped bare of life

Epochs of rot

Sterilised by greed

Undone in a planetary moment

These harvest tokens

Traditional offerings of thanks

Woven by the hands

Who understand 

The exchange between 

Man and environment.

These rituals of care

A homage to the tenderness and nurture

That we all possess

But choose to employ.

One hundred harvests

One hundred offerings.


Wheat straw, thread


170 x 170 x 3cm
a silver wheat stem root system on a black background
a silver wheat stem root system on a black backgrou nd
a silver wheat stem root system on a black background




15 x 9 x 6cm