Introducing Helen O’Hara

helen8I moved to Australia (Sydney) over 10 years ago from the UK. Circumstances dictated we move to Perth about 4 years ago. I didn’t want to come because “there’s nothing there”! Little did I know that Perth has an amazing network of art and textile groups that just wasn’t available in Sydney. There’s no way I’d go back east now.

I live in the City of Joondalup with my non-husband (we never got around to the marriage thing!) and my 2 kids who are both home educated. I’m also a volunteer foster carer for cat haven. I’m not very good at fostering because I have adopted 4 of my charges because I couldn’t bring myself to give them back! I’m also heavily involved with my local community including volunteering for the City of Wanneroo and helping to run our local home education support group.

I started my blog “The Hoarder’s Art Room” in 2014 as a way to showcase all the art projects I do. There are sections on printing, textiles, art journals and more. I’m part way through the 100 days challenge so check it out.

https://thehoardersartroom.blogspot.com/

Have you always been creative?

Yes. As a child we often did art and craft with our mum at home and I took art at GCSE and A Level at school. At university I trained as a primary teacher with art as my main subject area. A few years back I was offered the chance to be on the design team for Gelli Arts®, the people who make the Gelli® printing plates.

Gelli® mono-print on fabric

 

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Your first foray into the quilting world was?

I’ve always enjoyed going to craft and quilt fairs but I could never find a group that wasn’t miles away. I took some online classes in quiltmaking. The first every quilt I made was from a Craftsy workshop. It was only small so I turned it into a book cover. It didn’t take long to realise that I have no ability or patience when it comes to measuring, accuracy and straight edges.

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  Have you won any quilt awards? Locally, nationally, international ?

 Last year I won 2nd place for my small quilt called Antiquity, at quiltwest. I’ve also been lucky enough to have exhibited twice in Stitched and bound and in several other exhibitions at the Zig-Zag gallery.

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“Antiquity”

 

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In your spare time you enjoy……..?

 Camping, visiting art galleries and museums and of course making art!

 Favourite movie?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, however I thought the hobbit was rubbish because it didn’t follow the book closely enough. 

Favourite book?

My favourite fiction series is the “Earth Children” by Jean m Auel especially the 2nd book “Valley of the horses”. Another of my favourite fiction books is Primal by Robin Baker.

 Do you belong to any WAQA small groups or any other craft groups.

The first group I joined when I got to Perth was CQG. The group is always very inspiring and I learn something new every meeting. I’m also a member of 84 Contemporary Textiles and TAAMMI.

Favourite place to holiday?

 I like to take as many holidays as possible. I’m not a fan of relaxing beach holidays, I like to do hike and visit museums and other attractions. I’ve been to every state in Australia except Tasmania. The most amazing place I’ve been to is Iceland with it’s volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls. 

Favourite quilting/sewing tool you can’t live without ?

i just love the Bernina stitch regulator for free motion sewing

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 Follow patterns or like making and designing your own things?

It seems I am incapable of following patterns or even recipes. I just chuck in a bit of this and that and see how it turns out.

Your favourite part of the whole quilting process? 

I love all forms of surface decoration including printing and dyeing fabric. I hate finishing the edges of a piece and this is often the point in which I ruin my work.

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Your number one tip you can pass on to another quilter is?

Don’t watch me if you want to learn the correct way to quilt!

Do you have a preference for ( applique/contemporary/scrap quilts/paperpiecing/English paper piecing/modern quilts/machine quilting/hand quilting…….. ) what do you enjoy doing the most? 

I have tried and failed at piecing. I simply cannot be accurate enough to do a good job. I enjoy applique but I think most of my quilts have been whole cloth with painted or dyed designs. I rarely hand stitch as I don’t have the patience but I love the look of hand stitching. Often times I use thicker threads in the bobbing to emulate hand stitching in a fast way.

Are you lucky enough to have a designated space in your home, to be able to close the door behind you and leave the mess?

I have a whole room! Every piece of furniture is from IKEA. I love the kids Trofast storage drawers for keeping everything organised.

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 Do your prefer working on bigger quilts or pieces or smaller items?.

I think my natural size is about A3. It’s not often that I plan a particular size but that’s how they seem to come out.

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 Thank you Helen for sharing your story with me and our blog readers.  You are one busy woman!!  Very envious of your quilting room set up.

Words & images – Lorraine Marshall & Helen O’Hara.
This entry was posted in Contemporary Quilt Group, Exhibitions, judging, Royal Show, WAQA Quilters. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Introducing Helen O’Hara

  1. Virginia O'Keeffe says:

    terrific, very interesting. I think we’re all envious of your space LOL

  2. Joan Day says:

    Great life story. Thanks!

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