Helen Birnbaum is an artist who has always approached society and science in a questioning way. Her aim has always been to communicate ideas about the modern world in the most accessible and humorous way possible, and she strives to create exciting art that will always make you think. A variety of ceramic hand-building techniques are used often incorporating found materials such as rusty industrial metal pieces, coiled telephone wires and found objects. Aluminium, steel and copper waste found in local scrap yards and recycling centres in the North West is frequently used. Recycling old metal and plastic pieces has always played an important part in her artistic practice bringing to fruition her design ethos and also in echoing the ecological themes championed. By using discarded materials the intention is to remind the viewer of vital environmental concerns.

Through assemblage and ceramic sculpture a variety of different materials are explored whilst she engages in a conversation about the ecological crisis that faces a world where the use of resources far outweighs our ability to dispose of them. The sculptures are in part made of the rubbish we discard and become symbols of the way we treat our precious environments.

In 2020 Birnbaum built 150 life size ceramic hands in TERRA FIRMA Leaky Boat which explores the eco-refugee crisis. This major work was exhibited at Cop26 in Glasgow, in Halifax during Refugee & Compassion week, at the Daresbury Science Festival, 2023 and many times on-line. A large image of this work was displayed outside the Art Science Tent at the Glastonbury Festival in 2021. In 2023 she commenced another residency, this time with Blackpool School of Arts, where she created another installation called Shed Salty Tears about the bleaching of the sea bed and beach pollution. Birnbaum exhibits regularly at festivals, exhibitions, on-line and on social media.

In 2023 the National Grid and the think tank Sustainability First used images of TERRA FIRMA Leaky Boat in a ground-breaking report about the impact of climate change on our sustainable use of resources.

Helen Birnbaum was the winner of the Victoria & Albert Museum/Morley Gallery Ceramic Prize in 2018 and has sculptures in the Victoria Gallery, Liverpool’s Permanent Collection and works on permanent display in the Liverpool University. Notable exhibitions include the Gordon Pathology Museum, Guy’s Hospital London; the ARB Gallery Cambridge; the World Museum, Liverpool and ARTBOX Basel, Switzerland. She has also exhibited twice in Athens and once in Sao Paulo Brazil at the Natura exhibition. Birnbaum has also exhibited twice in the Glastonbury Festival Art Science tent, and in Spitalfields, London.