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2017-2019 Presently studying for Masters Degree in History, specialising in 17thC Northumberland.


2016 Art Nouveau Through Europe. Oxford University

2013 Diploma in the History of Art

2013 Islamic Art & Architecture. Oxford University

2012 Aims & Methods in Archaeology.  Leicester University

2012 Archaeological Theory. Leicester University

2011 Early Prehistory.  Leicester University

2010 Indian Art; A History.  Oxford University

2010 Ritual and Religion in Prehistory.  Oxford University

2005 C&G 7923 Diploma in Design and Craft. Level 3. Creative Embroidery.

2004 Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art Level 1

2004 OCN Batik

2003 C&G 7922 Certificate in Design and Craft. Level 3. Creative Embroidery.

2003 C&G 7307 Further and Adult Education Teaching Certificate.

1991 BSc (Hons) in Applied Biology.



Juried Member of SAQA


Network Artists Northeast

Surface Design Organisation

Embroiderers Guild

Quilters Guild of Great Britain and Contemporary Quilt Group

Alnwick District Arts Association




2017 Artistry in Fiber Vol. I; Wall Art

2006 Creative Quilting; The Journal Quilt Book.  Publisher - Quilting Arts Inc.



2012 Sewing World, September Issue.  Artists Profile.

2012 Sewing Word, October Issue.  “Linens & Lace”.

2008 Cross Stitcher, Issue 203, Artists Profile

2007 Quilters Guild, “The Accidental Quilter”

2007 Classic Stitches, “Putting Stitching into Perspective”, Artists Profile.

2007 Quilting Arts Gifts, “Towers of Snowflakes”

2006 Stitch Magazine, Issue 40, “The Science of Embroidery”, Artists Profile.

2006 Stitch Magazine Issue 39,  “Towers of Flowers”.

2006 Classic Stitches,  Issue 72,  “Hearts Entwined”.

2005 Quilting Arts Magazine, Issue 20,  Artists Profile.

2005 Quilting Arts Magazine,  Issue 20,  “Knit, Stitch & Distress”.

2004 Workbox,  Apr/May  “NeedleArt by Helen Cowans”. Artists profile and work.

2002 Quilting Arts Magazine. Winter Issue, "Suddenly Silk".

2002 Stitch with the Embroiderers Guild, Winter Issue..

2001 Design work for magazines "Classic Stitches", and for Coats Crafts Ltd.



2016 Jurors Choice, Art Quilts, Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham.

2006 Great Northern Quilt Show – First Prize, Art Quilt Category.

2005 Scottish Quilt Championships – Judges Merit, Art Quilt Category.

2002 ICHF Fashion & Embroidery Student Bursary.


Solo Exhibitions:

2012 "Linens and Lace" Old Gala House Gallery, Galashiels, Scotland

2012 "Transformations" Bailiffgate Museum Gallery, Alnwick, Northumberland

2011 "Transformations" Paxton House, Scotland


Selected / Juried exhibitions:

2013 Western Australia Quilt, Craft & Stitch Show – Perth, Australia.  Invited artist.

2012 Loch Lomond Quilt Show (invited artist), Dumbarton, Scotland

2012 Fashion & Embroidery Show, NEC, Birmingham.  Invited artist.

2008 Western Australia Quilt, Craft & Stitch Show – Perth, Australia.  Invited artist.

2006 SAQA “Breaking Boundaries”, Quilt Expo, Lyon

2006 Festival of Quilts, NEC – Contemporary Quilt Guild – “Fissures”

2000 Featured designer of the month at the Caron Collection web site.


Other Exhibitions:

2015 "Spirit of Twyne", Bailiffgate Museum Gallery, Alnwick, Northumberland

2014 "Personal Journeys", Bellingham Heritage Centre, Northumberland

2014 "Spirit of Wallington", Wallington House, Northumberland

2012 North Northumberland Artists Open Studio

2012 “Mining A Golden Seam”. Woodhorn Museum

2011 Textile Forum, Pins and Needles exhibition, Newcastle

2011 Solo Open Studio

2010 (year out due to collapse of studio building)

2009 Crossing Borders @ Eastgate Gallery, Peebles

2009 "Mountain High River Deep", Berwick upon Tweed

2009 Alnwick Arts Association Summer Exhibition

2009 Northumberland Art Fair, Woodhorn Museum

2009 Textile Forum, Pins and Needles exhibition, Newcastle

2008 Twyne in the Garden – Gallery No.27, Wooler

2008 Textile Forum, Pins and Needles exhibition, Newcastle

2007 Festival of Quilts, NEC – Quilt Creations

2007 Fenton Centre Gallery, Northumberland

2006 Network Artists @ Corbridge Ti Gallery

2006 Festival of Quilts, NEC – Quilters Guild Challenge

2006“Views of Northumberland”, Bondgate Gallery

2006 Scottish Branches Centenary Exhibition, various locations in Scotland

2006 Momentum, Embroiderers Guild Centenary Exhibition, Hartlepool

2005 Scottish Quilt Championships, Edinburgh

2005 Festival of Quilts, NEC

2005 Quilters Guild, Belsay Hall, Northumberland

2005 Network Artists Northumberland - Art Tour Open Studios

2005 Art Tour Preview, Bondgate Gallery

2005 “Womenfolk” Bondgate Gallery, Alnwick, Northumberland.

2004 Patchwork and Quilt Expo IX, Holland

2004 Aurora @Artworks, Newcastle upon Tyne

2004 Riches of Stitches, Collins Gallery, Glasgow

2003/4 Crown Studio, Elsdon, Northumberland.

2003 ICHF Fashion and Embroidery Show at Harrogate.

2003 International Quilt Festival at Houston, USA.

2003 Northumberland College End of Year Show

2003 Aurora at The Old Chapel Arts Centre, Kirkwhelpington.


Teaching experience:

2002 – present self employed tutor, lecturer and author

2004-2006 C&G Tutor - Levels 1, 2 & 3 In Creative Embroidery, Northumberland College

2003-2006 C&G Tutor  - Levels 1 & 2 Machine Embroidery, Northumberland College

2002-2004 Various courses for Northumberland County Council

2003-2004 Various workshops for the Coquetdale Arts Centre, Rothbury

2002-2003 Various workshops for the Alnwick Garden


Notable teaching contracts;

2013 "Stitching in the Dales" Yorkshire Regional Summer School

2009 Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles (Scotland) Summer School

2009 Northern Region Embroiders Guild Summer School

2008 International Artist, Western Australia Quilt, Craft & Stitch Show


Previous life employment:

2000-2006 Helen Cowans Photography - Wedding Photographer

1997-2000 Sales & Marketing Account Manager, SMA Nutrition. Northumberland and Cumbria.

1994-1997 Industrial Account Manager, Life Technologies Inc. Ltd, Northern England and Scotland

1992-1994 Laboratory Research Assistant, Human Genome Project.  London

1991-1992 Laboratory Assistant, Virology.  London.

Helen works from a studio in her garden where she produces work for the wall, 3D sculptures and costumes.  

I am an award winning, qualified tutor and lecturer with a passion and love of textiles and Northumberland.  

I’ve taught City & Guilds Embroidery courses and now work freelance as a tutor, lecturer and occasionally writing for magazines.  I’ve organised several solo and joint exhibitions.


I have qualifications in City & Guilds Embroidery, Adult Education, a Diploma in Art History, qualifications in Archaeology, Islamic Art and Indian Art & Architecture from the University of Oxford.

In a past life I worked in a laboratory as a molecular biologist.  I prefer stitching.


I’m presently exploring the landscape and history of Northumberland. A land of battles, castles and hidden rock art.

The “Land of the Far Horizons” where vistas are simply stunning.  


I’m exploring natural dyeing and weathering methods, so the fabric itself is “of the land”.

I’m looking at the animal and plants that live here, especially the wild flowers and the hares and curlews.


I’m researching archaeological and historical knowledge and geography.  

Especially looking at old abandoned homesteads and ancient carved rocks.

I’ve been thinking about the women who lived in the hills,

who lived through the battles, the cattle raids and the long hard winters.


I also have a passion for Eastern patterns and colours and I indulge  in bright colourful work, heavily stitched and beaded.


So I’m quite a contrast. I’ve learnt not to fight it, but to go with it and enjoy it all.  

Its now becoming a fusion of styles.


studio 2 IMG_5351