Portrait Helen

Helen Habtay

Helen Habtay is a contemporary jewellery artist living and working in Germany. The driving force of her work is a continuous inquisitiveness about the relationship between body and adornment, underpinned by what objects mean to us in society. Her objects merge elements of home in an exceptional way.

What have you rebelled against in the past, and what are you rebelling against now?
In my family, I was brought up to speak for myself. I was the middle of five children, so it was a good time to rebel against my siblings and parents. Nowadays, I express myself mainly through my work. It is a great way to communicate on a deeper level, as language can be very limited.

Do you need to be a rebel to enjoy your work?
To enjoy my work, you need time and self-expression.

Do you use your own pieces?
I prefer to see others exploring my pieces, as I already have a very intimate relationship with my work. For me, the response is always very exciting and sometimes surprising.

Do you think dishware can still be improved? If yes, in what way?
I like to eat from strange, colourful dishware matching the meal. It changes the atmosphere and the necessity of eating food becomes more of a ritual. Besides, I believe the food tastes better. How amazing would it be to have self-cleansing dishware…

What was the inspiration for your Steinbeisser series?
I was thinking about how much does one need for having a dinner. The idea of home and what happens when you loose it, triggered me.

Describe your work in 3 words!
Food for thought.

What kind of materials do you use and where do you get them from?
I use every day materials and objects from my direct surroundings. Usually neglected materials, as we tend to overlook the basic things around us…

What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am playing on an installation, which will be on show in spring this year. It’s quite exciting to work in larger scale. I will be represented at the event “Schmuck” in Munich this march. So, I am working towards this event, too.

What excites you about tomorrow?
I am looking forward to meet an old friend for a coffee.

What has been your favourite dinner experience?
Eating with hands, sharing food together from one big plate.

What further ambitions do you have?
Generally, I will continue to work more interdisciplinary and collaborative. My future plans include a trip into the fashion industry. Besides I am in a moment of transition. I am moving studio and it is very exciting. Let’s see what the future brings.

Which are your 3 favourite pieces on Jouw…?
The Broken Reassembled Plates by Felt + Fat, the Hanging Basket Plate by Kathleen Reilly and the Worm Tracks Spoons by Sophie Hanagarth are fun!