Archive: 2010

Happy New Year!

28th December, 2010

‘Snow gate, Heilongjiang Province, Northern China’

Video interview, Mrs West’s Hats – China State Radio website

22nd December, 2010

Click here to see the China State Radio’s web page showing a video interviewing Helen Couchman about Mrs West’s Hats.

The page written in mandarin shows images from the book and a video. The video features clips from their recent hour long interview with Helen about her book and British hats in general. The programme was broadcast live from the CSR Beijing studios on 1st December 2010.

姓名:海伦考斯曼 (Helen Couchman)
来自:威尔士 史塔福郡 肯特 伦敦




Exhibition – Cloud series, Yellow lining

19th September, 2010

Exhibition of lino-cut, woodblock, etched and Chine-collé prints. Shown at the This Is Not A Gateway (TINAG) 3rd, Festival On Cities.

Opening 7pm on Thursday 21st October. Then 22-24th October. Hanbury Hall, 22 Hanbury Street, (off Brick Lane) London E1 6QR

Cloud series, Yellow lining

This new, ongoing series of landscapes employs and variously combines – lino cut, woodblock, etching, embossing and one-off Chine-collé prints, and utilises as its point of reference cloud imagery. To some degree Couchman is paralleling cloud motifs, which she has observed in temples, public architecture and large courtyard homes, (siheyuan) across China. This traditional subject, being usually depicted in stone or wood, materials that are in acute contrast to the ethereality of actual clouds. This mirrors the printmaking process where the cloud is carved in lino or wood or etched in copper.

The inadvertent starting point for these works was Couchman noticing, as the plane in which she was travelling descended towards the as yet unrevealed Beijing metropolis, a thin layer of bright yellow cloud, delineating a relatively fine line of material through which the aircraft quickly passed. From the ground nothing of this curious narrow band was visible, only a clear blue sky.

There is some irony here in the application of the English expression ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, which suggests that everything bad has its positive, if perhaps at first hidden, aspect. In the present case the matter is reversed, the clear blue of the sky being discreetly penetrated by an invisible layer of tangerine haze. It is difficult to see the ‘silver lining’ in this ominous yellow vision.

Couchman’s depictions of clouds are somewhat stylized, presenting age-old Chinese imagery in a modern form that owes much to the technical devices and conventions employed in western comics. Her pairing of Chinese wood and stone clouds with references to 20th century cartoons and design have allowed for a fantasised depiction of a grey and yellow cityscape.

Cloud series, Yellow lining No. 6


Cloud series, Yellow lining No. 7

Interview – Mrs. West’s Hats. China state radio, Radio Beijing

14th July, 2010

Live interview for Talk Box on Beijing Radio, 774am.  14th July, 11am-12noon.
Presenters June Lee and Dominic Swire interview Helen Couchman about her work and her recent book Mrs. West’s Hats. The interview was broadcast with an accompanying live video link.

At the studio in a hat borrowed for the show. Photo taken by the host, June. Listen to a previous interview about living in Beijing and her first book WORKERS 工人 here.