Born in India, Helen Ormiston Smith had most of her formal education in the United Kingdom. She taught in the Arts in Education Department at the University of Victoria for twelve years. She now lives on Salt Spring Island where she works out of her studio.
"We have always assumed the permanence of the physical earth. No longer is this one of the ultimate truths. The world, like a human life, is finally acknowledged to be ephemeral. What appears to be eternal is only temporal and it is this ambiguity that is central to my work. I use clay as a medium whose durability is vulnerable and whose nature intensifies and extends my ideas.
The annals of human experience are recorded on walls, rocks and vessels. These surfaces have born such expression since man began to make note of his surroundings. As such, these ancient archetypes bear witness to the landmarks of human development. I use these forms as icons on which to make my own symbols, my visual commentary on the frail equilibrium and poetry of our world."