Crafting Enterprise meets Made in the Middle

Kristen and Zoë Hillyard

"I like the work because of the way she puts it together. I am really interested in the way she smashes he vase and sews it back together again." Kristen
  • d4c7400db1e4c52b0fafcbcb1c29381c.jpg Made in the Middle Vases, 2012. Silk, ceramic and thread. Photo credit: Zoë Hillyard.
  • ZHillyard_Bird Vase_45cmX27cm - CRAFTING ENTERPRISE.jpg Bird Vase, 2016. Vintage silks, ceramic and thread. Photo credit: Zoë Hillyard.
  • 2d456d3c-c3dc-49a5-a85b-4680ac2318d1.jpg Faye's Patch Vase, 2013. Vintage silks, ceramic and thread. Photo credit: Zoë Hillyard.
  • IMG_2135.JPG Kristen's artwork inspired by the work of Zoe Hillyard, 2017. Pastel on paper. Photo credit: Helen Tomkins
All Students

What is the most difficult part of the making process?

Sourcing the materials - both ceramics and the textiles.  Sometimes a vase waits a long time for the right fabric, sometimes it's the other way round.  Really successful pieces are when the two find each other.  As each piece takes many hours (days or weeks) to make, it is important to make good decisions.  Much of my materials are sourced from charity shops and car boot sales as I love to revive old materials.  

What did you have to study to do what you do?

I studied Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University and this enabled me to develop good creative thinking and practical making skills. Studying a creative course trains you to think about problems from lots of different angles.  However, I do think that lots of people have good ideas, but it is acting on them that is the real trick!  So maybe being curious about things and proactive in exploring them is more important that what you study!  

Where and how do you sell your work?

I have a website ( and use Instagram (@ceramicpatchwork) to promote my work.   Often people contact me directly to see what pieces I have available or to commission me (often they want me to use a significant piece of textiles, or mend a broken piece of treasured ceramic).  I am also a member of Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery in London which provides a brilliant showcase for my work (an excellent location, a two minute walk from Tate Modern).  I usually exhibit at a couple of art or ceramic shows every year, as I love how it enables me to travel all over the country, get together with other makers and meet the people who love (and buy) work.