helen nodding


Welcome to my blog


I'll endeavour to keep you posted with my latest ramblings, new projects and exhibitions, info on artists that inspire me, as well as anything else I think might be worth a share.

By helennodding, Oct 31 2017 04:14PM

Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction is legendary as being a sprawling traffic interchange, that famously dominates the town's aeriel landscape. Over the years it has become a source of mockery for the city: tarnished as an eyesore of brutalism and epicentre of pollution. However, many of us that have grown up in the shadow of the Spaghetti Junction have developed an inordinate fondness and fascination for it.

Beneath it's cold grey steel and concrete appearance lies a world of natural wonder: for it is here that the confluence of the River Tame, Aston Brook and River Rea occurs, an ancient meeting of waterways; a Victorian canal network flows beneath the looming concrete columns, and nature proliferates along the towpaths and tunnels. Walking beneath the Spaghetti Junction is a magical experience. Seen from below, the towering cylinders take on the appearance of monumental pillars from a Greek Temple. There is a sense of awe in the air, of timeless mystery. The world beneath the Spaghetti Junction is the stuff of fairytales: dark, twisted and wonderfully enchanted...

Click here to discover a developing gallery of the project in progress...

Prints are available to purchase via the online shop

By helennodding, Oct 31 2017 12:21PM

I've always been in love with this little derelict cottage situated around the corner from my flat in the West Midlands. This week, in true Halloween style, my friend Emma and I spotted that the door had been broken into, so I finally got the chance to take a sneak peak inside. The interior certainly didn't disappoint, it's as if the whole building has been frozen in time. So enchanting and spooky!

The local police are in the process of securing the building, so hopefully it won't lay vulnerable for too much longer: but I'm glad I got to have a cheeky glance before they did!

I would love to find out more about the building's story and the history of who has lived there over the years. I also want to find out who owns it now and what the long term plans for it are... and I've resolved to chain myself to it if they ever threaten to pull it down. It's just MAGICAL!

On a friend's advice, I've got in touch with the Birmingham Victorian Society to seek out advice on how to find out if the building is listed and protected. I've also emailed the Birmingham Library Heritage Archives to find out how I might go about researching its history. If anybody has any other ideas about how to establish the history of this little gem, and how it may be best conserved and protected, I'd love to hear from you!

By helennodding, Sep 30 2017 09:00AM

The Competition

Earlier this year I was inspired to put my illustration skills to use and come up with an entry for 'The Great British Postcard Competion' (TGBPC):

"Punk legend John Lydon has teamed up with The Big Issue, The Big Issue Foundation and online print company SAXOPRINT to challenge the country’s creative community to design a postcard that reflects their personal experiences of Britain in 2017, and reinvent the tradition of The Great British Postcard."

As a child I had been an avid collector of postcards, and have always been fascinated by their ability to present a snapshop souvenir that can imaginately transport the beholder to a different place and time. I also loved their ability to conjure up an emotional response: be it hilarity, nostalgia or a sense of longing for some idyllic faraway place. There was once a time when you couldn't go on a day trip without coming home with a paper bag full of postcards of some important historical landmark or picturesque landscape. In more recent years the "institution" of the postcard has been replaced by the social media selfie and, to me, this modern form of souvenir has never held quite the same resonance as the original. This was amongst the reasons I was enthusiastic to put on my thinking cap and keep the great tradition of the postcard alive... and with a whopping prize of £5000 up for grabs, I needed little further encouragement!


I found inspiration for my entry: "The End of the Road" whilst walking around the backstreets of Walsall, near my hometown in the West Mids. I'm always drawn towards overgrown industrial sites and the nature that profilerates in urban wasteland: 'the ragged arcadia' as writer Richard Mabey so beautifully describes it. Such spaces are brimming with with hidden narratives, anticipated histories and anecdotes waiting to unfold. They also provide a wonderful insight into nature's "quiet revolution", and place the dramas of human activity into a poignant perspective. When I happened across this particular "unsung corner", in Walsall, it felt fecund with poetic meaning: epitomizing so many of the emotions I had been feeling in response to the confusing political events of the year. At the same time it seemed like such a familiar yet unremarkable aspect of the British landscape; there's an overgrown wasteland like this hiding behind every high street in the country. To me, this felt like a side of Great Britain that the postcards had forgotten, or chosen to ignore, which is exactly why I wanted to celebrate it.

The Winner!

I was absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for the competition. The awards night was a very glamorous event held In London's 'Proud Gallery', where we were treated to an evening of live performances curated by the performance artist Richard de Dominici; as well as speeches by the likes of Lord John Bird (Big Issue Founder and Crossbench peer) and one of my longstanding hero's John Lydon (Sex Pistols, PiL). I could barely believe my ears when Mr Lydon so eloquently described his interpretation of my artwork and then announced my name as the Grand Prize Winner!!

"I nearly fell off my chair laughing. It reminds me of having a cigarette in the backyard of a Great British pub – that’s the view you get.

“I love it. It’s our Britain, from John O’Groats all the way down to Devon. It’s beautiful and skillful, and I want a large print of it!” John Lydon

All that's left to say is a HUGE thank you to Saxoprint, The Big Issue and the prestigious panel of judges for the amazing honour of winning this fabulous competition. I genuinely couldn't be more surprised, thrilled and honoured to have won!


The Big Issue


Print Monthly

By helennodding, Dec 3 2015 01:35PM

10 years on from originally publishing my idea to create 'moss graffiti', I've been continually amazed by the way in which the idea seems to have captured the imaginations of so many: and equally disappointed that I've only had a limited amount of successful attempts at actually making it work!

I've decided that it's a good idea to write a short account of how I was first inspired to try out the idea, as well as detail the legacy that has been created by those 'moss graffiti experts' whose fingers have proven to be far greener than my own...!

Read on...

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