Biographical / Historical
Harold "Bill" Helwig (1938-2012) was an enamel artist and educator born in Wellington, Kansas in 1938. Helwig received his MS in watercolor from Fort Hayes Kansas State College in 1961. After a short stint in the military, Helwig became the assistant director of the Creative Craft Center at the State University of New York, Buffalo (he served as an assistant professor in the design department there as well). In 1977, Helwig took the position of director at Vitrearc, a division of Ceramic Coating Co., in Newport, Kentucky. After Vitrearc, Helwig's primary focus shifted towards creating enamel art and teaching its process. Included in Helwig's artistic accomplishments was a selection in the international exhibition "Objects: USA" (1969), exhibitions in the Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York City, and the CCA Galleries in Cambridge, England. Helwig was an active member of the American Craft Council as co-founder and editor of Glass On Metal. He received the Enamellist Society's Creative Arts Award in 2001.
Lenore Davis (1936-1995) was a fiber artist and educator born in Missoula Montana in 1936. She received her BS from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1958. After college, Davis taught high school art, and held a position as a craft director with the US Army Special Services in Germany. After these jobs, Davis received her MFA in ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1965, and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study ceramics in Portugal in 1966. After her scholarship, Davis began her career as a full-time artist showcasing her work individually and as part of group exhibitions at craft shows, galleries, and museums across the United States. She also led workshops, made instructional videos, and worked for commissions. Davis was a member of the Surface Design Association, National Institute of American Doll Artists, American Craft Council, Kentucky Guild of Craftsmen, and Greater Cincinnati Guild of Craftsmen.
Harold Helwig and Lenore Davis married in 1968. As a couple they worked collaboratively on two-person shows as well as part of larger group exhibitions. In addition to conducting various workshops and lectures, both Davis and Helwig taught classes at Penland School of Craft between the late-1970s and mid-1990s.