3 January 2024
Erin Helsen has been a visual artist for 12 years, and her intuitive visual language also trickles down to her jewellery brand The Promise. She works with residual streams and wants to facilitate social connections through her project.
Who is Erin Helsen?
There was always an activist component in my work. As an artist, I was working on food surpluses or recovery, among other things. I was also always interested in the sorting processes of second-hand businesses such as De Kringwinkel. I’m bringing those two worlds together today with The Promise. I map out the circular possibilities for the jewellery world and translate the theory into practice with small collections of unique pieces based on residual streams. Intuitively puzzling in collage style, always with a layer of humour, I give discarded jewellery a new life. It is that mix of activism and beauty that is so typical of me and of The Promise. If I can trigger people with a beautiful piece of jewellery and make them aware of the masses of available residual streams, I am satisfied.
I see The Promise as a social art project with commercial potential. The jewellery collections are mainly a showcase for my vision; I bring them to a larger audience through workshops. When I started the brand, it was with the underlying thought: how can I make jewellery with as few techniques as possible so that I can make it together with others? The end product is not so much the goal as the process of bringing people together. I think it is important to leave as much room for experimentation as possible, and then you quickly find connection with museums, schools and cultural centres. I am currently exploring the best mix of sales and experimentation to make The Promise work while staying close to myself and my mission. What is certain is that I am giving The Promise a lot of time to grow. I believe in the power of slowness.