Welcome Hellenne Vermillion - new Benson Center Art Instructor. Hellenne will start her tenure with several Workshops including silk painting, polymer clay, wire wrapping, etc.
Hellenne Vermillion is a mixed media artist who creates carved clay mask bases to which she applies hand dye painted silk, wool roving, and other fibers. Her love of forming with clay and her love of working with fiber, and dye color on silk brought her to combine all these materials in her work. Her interest in archaeology and past cultures and imagining how the people lived their daily lives, along with a high school class where her group created a civilization and it's artifacts were the impetus for the masks she creates today.
The masks are from an imaginary civilization and are called spirit masks. The masks show the human and animal spirits of that imaginary world, and are decorated with texture, color, knots, felted wools and beads. They are called tattoo, bird, feline masks along with blue sky and dawn spirit masks. One element that is commonly seen in the works is using threads wrapped around fibers and knots.
Hellenne Vermillion is half Japanese and bicultural. The tying of knots in Japanese culture has been taken to an art form and are seen in ceremonial and spiritual work. Although the true meaning of these knots are not fully understood, they are a vital part of her upbringing - meaning they were everywhere, in temples, in shrines, in packaging, and in clothing - and somewhere in the subconscious mind it plays an important role in her work even if its significance isn't understood.
Through the mask's eyes, the spirit sees our world, and if we were to see through the eyes of the mask, what would we see?