Zoë Hillyard is a textile artist and lecturer. She works with textile and ceramic materials, creating ‘ceramic patchwork’ vessels that revive the fortunes of discarded and broken objects. Finding beauty in the aesthetics of mending and imperfection of objects that have led previous lives, she works spontaneously with pattern and colour, making stitched forms that reveal unexpected properties when handled.
Hillyard’s work and research activities are inspired by cultural exchange and strongly influenced by ethical concerns. Travel, teaching and volunteering all influence the nature of her creative practice. She particularly enjoys experiencing wild landscapes and the rich local cultures that often go hand in hand. Having spent a year working as a VSO volunteer in Mongolia, Zoe draws particular inspiration from the resourcefulness of nomadic life.
Often commissioned to make pieces that rework personally significant materials, her work seeks to strengthen and question the relationship we have with possessions.
Zoë Hillyard graduated in Textile Design from Nottingham Trent University and her professional practice has been shaped by combining undergraduate teaching with freelance design work, initially selling embellished knitted fashion fabrics and designing tailored knitwear for the Marion Foale label.
Subsequent Postgraduate study at Reading University led to research and overseas work looking at design initiatives within an international development context.
On her return from a period of work in Mongolia, she started developing Ceramic Patchwork and now exhibits widely at ceramic, craft and art events.
Last year her work featured in Selected for Stroud International Textiles and at Unravelling the National Trust at Uppark House and Gardens.
Hillyard creates bespoke pieces for the British Museum based on their archives and undertakes private commissions.
Her work is in the permanent collection of the Plymouth Museum & Art Gallery.
Zoë’ Hillyard’s work has featured in publications including Crafts, Elle Decoration and Homes & Antiques and in 2013 she was the ‘diary writer’ for Craft & Design Magazine.
She won the Antique of the Future Award in 2012 and received the Selected Makers Gold Award for Textiles in 2014.
She is a member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen
In 2015, the artist will be working on Homeground, a project celebrating the unique characteristics of home and place through Football Clubs linked to crafts trades. She will be working with ‘The Silkmen’ in Macclesfield. www.homegroundcraft.com/
Having participated in the last of the three Unravelling the National Trust exhibitions at Uppark House and Gardens in 2014, Hillyard’s work will feature in a celebration of the five-year project, which brings together selected work commissioned from all three venues. Called Leaving Home, the exhibition will be at the Contemporary Applied Arts in London from 16th April to 31st May.
Zoë Hillyard will be showing at Delamore Arts in Cornwood, Devon, throughout May (www.delamore-art.co.uk) and also Art in Clay at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire between 3rd and 5th of July (www.artinclay.co.uk).
The artist welcomes commissions that rework personal materials or imagery. She also undertakes bespoke collections for organisations that wish to reference particular archival imagery or form. Her stock is constantly changing, as each piece of ceramic patchwork is unique.
British Museum, London.
The ClayDen, Hastings.