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Awkward Beauty is an interdisciplinary art project between jewellery designer Helen Britton, Perth garment designer Justine McKnight and Perth photographer Michelle Taylor. Artist Helen Britton spoke with Habitusliving.com this week about her on-going interest in awkward beauty.


“I have been tending to call the work a dialogue rather than a collaboration, as we didn’t work together," explains jewellery designer Helen Britton of the travelling exhibition of photographs and object that is Awkward Beauty.

"We each worked in response to the other’s work. Justine on her the garments, me on my pieces of jewellery and Michelle on the photos. We’ve all worked in a very intense and focused way, but separately,” Britton says, saying the project grew out of several parallel conceptual interests and plenty of mutual respect. 

Awkward Beauty was devised and over seen by the passionate FORM Curator, Elisha Buttler. FORM for whom Elisha works, is a not for profit organisation in Western Australia that advocates all types of creativity in Australia’s western most state. FORM also offer artists residencies each year  and welcomes new faces into the unique Midland Atelier located on the outskirts of Perth.
For this project each artist created a body of work as a direct response to the work created by the other. Each artist involved spent at least some time creating their work in the dis-used railway building warehouse space in Midland. Each describes how the the isolation and desolation of the old warehouse helped them to develop and inform the work.  

"Midland is a great place to work. It contains an extremely interesting and exciting woodshop or workshop and it has a true sense of place in tht all around you are deeply embossed remnants of the work  once done there."
"I am not an illustrative maker, so it did not influence me directly – I tend to work in a very intuitive way – but I very much enjoyed the sense of place, the isolation and desolation. The fragility and the anxiety of the space.



Helen Britton who now lives in Munich, spent three months in Perth during the summer of 2010 creating sculptural and structured pieces that were designed to challenge her long time friends and garment designer Justine McKnight. 

During the project she created 5 pieces of work in Germany and five in Australia. When she finished, she passed them on to McKnight, who considered them and in turn created five not matching, but related outfits. McKnight in turn made five new garments for Britton to consider and respond to with new jewellery. 

Privy to this process, was photographer Taylor who them responded to both through her images, placing and displacing the garments and jewellery in a non-linear but harmonious narrative. Curator Elisha Buttler Curator at FORM, Western Australia says they have compiled a body of work which not only represents the creative outputs of three individual, distinct artists, but a body of work within which each output each artwork– is a product of the other.


“I would not go as far as to say each work is wholly reliant on the other, but each is related to the other and in a way, would not exist without the other. “The three artists, tuning into the intriguing spatiality, aesthetics and trace identities of the railway workshops, have also challenged one another in the way that only creative minds can.

Helen Britton is represented by Gallery Fanarki in Melbourne and Galerie Spektrum in Munich.

FORM Western Australia

Midland Atelier