Textile Talk with Helen Godden

In our latest episode of Textile Talk we had the pleasure of speaking with Helen Godden, a renowned textile artist and award-winning quilter from Canberra, Australia. This conversation provides an in-depth look into Helen’s artistic journey, her unique approach to quilting, and her contributions to the textile arts community. For those passionate about quilting, design, and creative expression, this episode of Textile Talk with Helen Godden is a treasure trove of insights and inspiration. Here’s what you learn: 

Textile Talk with Helen Godden

Listen to the episode on your favourite podcast platform or click the link below to listen now. 

Textile Talk with Helen Godden >>

A Passion for Art and Textiles

Helen Godden’s journey into the world of art quilting began in 2004. Originally focused on painting and design, Helen transitioned into quilting, bringing with her a fresh and innovative perspective. Her works are distinguished by their vibrant colours, strong design elements, and the seamless integration of painting and quilting techniques. Helen’s quilts are predominantly pictorial, where she uses her sewing machine to add intricate details and movement to her painted surfaces, effectively “drawing” with thread.

Swanning East Patchwork Quilt by Helen Godden
Swanning East (Full)

From Fashion to Quilting

Helen’s career in textiles began much earlier, however, in the realm of wearable art. For 13 years, she ran a successful business hand-painting garments, ranging from t-shirts to jackets, and even men’s underwear. This period honed her skills in painting on fabric, which later translated beautifully into her quilting work. The shift from fashion to quilting was catalysed by personal circumstances, including her husband’s serious accident and the birth of their child, which brought her closer to her mother’s quilting practice. This familial influence, combined with her own artistic instincts, led Helen to explore quilting in her unique way.

Heart of Australia by by Helen Godden
Hear of Australia (Full)
Our Sunburnt Country patchwork quilt by by Helen Godden
Our Sunburnt Country
Rainbow Lorikeet full quilt by Helen Godden
Rainbow Lorikeet (full)

Pushing Boundaries in Quilting

Helen’s approach to quilting is anything but traditional. She is known for challenging the norms of the quilting community, often referred to as “quilt police,” who advocate for strict adherence to traditional methods. Helen’s use of painting on quilts, a practice initially met with scepticism, has now become a signature aspect of her work. This boldness has garnered her significant recognition, including 16 awards at the prestigious Houston Quilt Festival.

Magic Mushrooms by Helen Godden

Embracing the Art of Encouragement

One of the key takeaways from the podcast is Helen’s teaching philosophy, which centres around positivity and encouragement. Helen highlights the importance of creating a supportive environment where students can thrive at their own pace. She believes that fostering a positive attitude in the classroom can significantly impact students’ learning experiences. Helen’s approach is rooted in her understanding that many students come with a history of negative experiences in art classes. By providing a nurturing space, she helps students overcome their fears and rediscover their creative potential.

Faces of India
Faces of India

Quilting: An Extension of Drawing

For Helen, quilting is an extension of her drawing skills. She describes quilting as “drawing with a sewing machine,” where the patterns she creates are similar to her doodles. This seamless transition from drawing to quilting allowed Helen to excel in the textile art form rapidly. Her ability to see quilting as another medium for her artistic expression demonstrates how interconnected various forms of art can be.

Chameleon full quilt by Helen Godden
Chameleon (full)

Future Plans

Looking ahead, Helen admits to facing a dilemma common among self-employed artists: the concept of retirement. Unlike traditional careers, retiring from a passion-driven profession is not straightforward. Helen’s uncertainty about the next steps reflects her deep connection to her work and the ongoing quest for new creative challenges.

My Australia Quilt by Helen Godden
My Australia

Listen Now to Helen Godden

This episode of Textile Talk with Helen Godden podcast offers a rich tapestry of insights into Helen Godden’s life and work. From her early artistic experiences to her innovative teaching methods and pandemic adaptations, Helen’s story is one of resilience, creativity, and passion. 

Don’t miss out on this enlightening conversation with Helen Godden—listen to the full episode now and embark on a journey of artistic discovery and inspiration. For more information take a look at her website

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