Helen Chatterton

some background

Helen Chatterton was born in Bury, Lancashire in 1961. The seeds of a lifetime's obsession were sown when her Scottish mother taught her to knit and sew at the age of seven, and growing up in a textile-based town and household fostered a passion for all aspects of fabrics and yarns.

She studied Classics at Liverpool University then moved to London where she married in 1983. In 1986 Helen and her husband returned to Liverpool, and after having two children she completed her City and Guild Part II Creative Studies in Knitwear at Huddersfield Technical College, commuting once a week from Liverpool.

At Huddersfield, Helen started experimenting with velvet, and as part of a project for her City and Guild started to make a range of samples for cushions, throws and wall-hangings. This developed further after friends and family started to commission cushions and throws from her.

helen chatterton

A shop in Liverpool, The Little Room, started to sell some of her work and she started to turn it into a business, and formed the company "Perfection of Production".

In 2007 Helen started to make her unique tweed and velvet scarves, which proved to be very popular. These were followed in 2009/10 by her Skinny Scarves. Helen has gradually built up the business and now sells her work the length and breadth of the country in high quality shops and galleries.

Between 2006 and 2012 Helen was a workshop tutor in Handknitting at the beautiful Fibre and Clay in Knutsford, until its closure in 2012. She is still a keen knitter and attends In the Loop conferences run by Southampton University when time permits.

Helen has worked with the Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool on some very exciting projects, including work for their 50th Anniversary, an Artist's Residency as part of their Making an Impact Scheme, has been featured in their "In the Window" series and last year she presented one of their Artist's Talks at the Athenaeum Club in Liverpool. She is leading a workshop for them in July 2014.

In May 2012 she took part in Handmade in Britain's show, "London, a Celebration", at the Oxo Galleries in London. For this she launched a new collection called City on Cloth. City on Cloth is digitally printed fabrics, featuring old maps, which are then transformed into scarves and smaller items. In June 2012 she collaborated with the British Museum using one of the maps of London from their collection and the result was a scarf backed with Harris Tweed.

The City on Cloth collection is partly a result of her love of maps and a lifelong habit of acquiring books. She designed a collection for Tate Britain in 2013 for their Lowry Exhibition, and made two designs of tweed/silk scarf which sold in their gift shop.

Helen has forged links with a tweed mill in the Scottish Borders, and has started to commission tweeds to her chosen colours. In January 2014 she launched a range of throws.

Colour is the inspiration for her work, often the juxtaposition of colours not usually put together. She get lots of inspiration when sourcing new fabrics. Some colourways, particularly in the velvet scarf range, reflect period themes from two of her favourite periods in history, literature and music - the 1920's and 1930's.

Everything is made from start to finish by Helen and her aim is that whoever buys one, has a one-off, hand crafted, well-made item, which will give pleasure for years to come. As well as being beautiful to look at they are immensely practical and hard wearing. In 2014 she has decided to run the business under her own name, and drop the name, Perfection of Production.

In any spare time she has, Helen enjoys walking her dogs with her husband and children, reading, knitting, outdoor swimming and has recently taken up the violin.