Wunderkammer with Black Coffee – Interview

6 June 2019

I am delighted that William Bedford chose to interview me about my work – the words and the images – and that David Cooke published our chat over at The High Window.

This is to coincide with the publication of The Anatomical Venus (May 2019) and can be found if you mouse over the words below and click:

Tags: ,

The Anatomical Venus

1 November 2018

I am most thrilled that the wonderful Bloodaxe Books has released my fifth collection The Anatomical Venus.  I made the Venus for the front cover from a boudoir doll bought from a flea-market and various foraged elemental bits – pearls, feathers, string from the beach, a shell from Waxham beach and dried flowers from a friend’s wedding bouquet.  Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

An Anatomical Venus – which gives this book its title – was an eighteenth-century anatomical wax sculpture of an idealised woman, a heady mix of eroticism, death and biological verisimilitude. Venus could be opened up and pulled apart by all the men who studied her. She would give up her secrets the first time of asking.

Helen Ivory’s new collection The Anatomical Venus examines how women have been portrayed as ‘other’; as witches; as hysterics with wandering wombs and as beautiful corpses cast in wax, or on mortuary slabs in TV box sets. A hanged woman addresses the author of the Malleus Maleficarum, a woman diagnosed with ‘Housewife Psychosis’ recounts her dreams to Freud, and a sex robot has the ear of her keeper. The Anatomical Venus imagines the lives of women sketched in asylum notes and pictures others shut inside cabinets of curiosity.


Hear What the Moon Told Me

13 May 2016


I am delighted to announce that after all of my cutting and sticking and painting of the last three years, this book now exists in the flesh!  I began writing poems at Norwich Art School (as was) so I am really pleased that both elements of my practice have come together in this way.  It’s taken me quite a long time to achieve this – since last century in fact!

Here is a link to the book on the lovely Knives Forks and Spoons Press site.  You can see a PDF of samples from the book. The print quality of the book will be lot higher res. and therefore sharper that the samples here.


If you would like to a buy a print of any of the poems please click here http://www.helenivory.co.uk/hear-what-the-moon-told-me-prints/

Fool’s World – Tarot Publication

31 December 2015

I am really pleased to say that the Tarot project that Tom de Freston and I have been working on for a couple of years has come into fruition!  We have called it Fool’s World, which seemed appropriate, given the narrative of the major arcana begins with The Fool, and ends with The World.  If the Fool is lucky enough to have come out the other side of his journey, he will attain the World.

Here is a little extract from an interview Tom and I did for Lighthouse recently which describes the practicalities of making something other than a book:

In our discussions about how to make the pack into a physical object, we decided to focus solely on the Major Arcana cards, which are traditionally the most significant and represent the large turning points in life.   They are also the most universally recognised outside of the Tarot-reading world. There are many spreads that can be done with the Major Arcana, so we hope that the cards will be useful to work with.

Practicalities came to the fore, such as the size of the cards and therefore the legibility of the font. We also didn’t want Tom’s powerful visuals to shout over the poems. Nor did we want the poems to have dominion of the cards, allowing Tom no space to play in. For this reason we lighted upon the notion of a set of visual cards and a set of poems cards, with each taking prominence respectively.

I feel very lucky that Tom wanted to work on this collaboration, and we both feel blessed that Gatehouse Press would want to publish something more challenging than a book.  They worked incredibly hard to produce something gorgeous.

Below is one of the poem cards – the first in the pack.  Here is a link to the Gatehouse shop, should you be tempted: http://www.gatehousepress.com/2015/12/fools-world-a-tarot-helen-ivory-tom-de-freston/



Cut-ups and Collage

25 April 2015

Destruction and re-creation is coming on apace!  I have perhaps become a Trickster archetype!  It’s all part of my fetish for recycling and re-imagining lives for found objects.  The image below was taken from a falling-apart fairy-tale book I found on ebay for a song, or more like, a few notes.  I have transferred the image onto un-stretched canvas and painted into it with acrylics.  You’ll see the gold hasn’t come out too well in this photograph – it is very difficult to photograph reflective surfaces and I’m not a pro!

The words here were taken from two stories in another damaged fairy-tale book.  It’s hard to see the quality of the paper from this picture, but it is a cheaply printed wartime book.  The book’s previous owner has crayoned on lots of the pages, so I didn’t feel mean about cutting it up.

The avant garde publishing house Knives, Forks and Spoons Press has expressed an interest in publishing a collection of my cut-ups which I’m very excited about.  This has given me the impetus for more experimentation with materials and has caused me to open my paint drawer again after a hiatus of fifteen years.  Perhaps I will see how my oil paints have fared during hibernation.  I do love the smell of oil paint in the morning.

2015-04-18 17.52.28-1


Exhibitions like Buses

15 March 2015

It’s been a whole month since I told you about the exhibition at Anteros and I’m sure we’ve all been pretty busy since then.  I for one sold some work there, took that exhibition down, made a couple more pieces, then installed some work in another space. It’s the Forum in Norwich, and will come back home on the evening of the 20th March. As you will see from the photograph, I have a whatnot, though you probably can’t see what’s on it from my photo.  Martin’s been taking pictures of all my word & image assemblages, and scans of my collage poems.  I’d like to update the Artwork pages of this website soon, and also  I am working towards a comic-book scale collection of these pieces which The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press have shown an interest in.

It’s very exciting to see my visual and poetry practices coming together in this way, but to be honest it actually seems like the most obvious thing in the world.  Heaven knows why it’s taken so long to happen.  I guess this is what is called one’s development as an artist or poet, or whatever, and whatnot.
2015-03-15 11.26.20

Next Page »