Zoë Hillyard

  • BlackBulbVase_Photo by ZoeHillyard (1).jpg Black Bulb Vase, 2015. Ceramic, silk, cotton and polyester thread. Photo credit: Zoë Hillyard.
  • BrightonPatchVase_2013_photo by ZHillyard.jpg Brighton Patch Vase, 2013. Ceramic, silk, cotton and polyester thread. Photo credit: Zoë Hillyard.
  • RedSpotVase_UnravellingUppark_photo Jim Stephenson.jpg Red Spot Vase, Unravelling Uppark, 2014. Ceramic, silk, cotton and polyester thread. Photo credit: Jim Stephenson.
  • UpparkVase_2014_UnravellingUppark_Photo by ZHillyard.jpg The Uppark Vase, Unravelling Uppark, 2014. Ceramic, silk and polyester thread. Photo credit: Zoë Hillyard.

What inspires me

I'm inspired by materials, which are not pristine and already have a history of use. A year spent in Mongolia with nomadic families gave me a very different perspective on resourcefulness and ownership of possessions.

Ceramic Patchwork was borne out of a chance breakage of kitchen crockery and a flight of fancy about repairing using fabrics and stitch. It is often not until a piece is handled, and the soft touch of silk is felt and the slight flex of stitched together silk-covered ceramic fragments is experienced that people understand what they are seeing. I use found materials, bespoke digital prints, or sentimental materials which my clients ask me to use.

Making in the Midlands

There is something brilliant about my approach not needing me to be tied to heavy equipment, access to electricity or even huge amounts of space to make – I can be semi-nomadic. However, I combine making with Lecturing at Birmingham City University. Birmingham's multi-culturalism is an important source of inspiration. The city's scale makes for many wonderful sources of second-hand material treasures. Its location makes a range of gallery and venues accessible.

I think it's important to put a spotlight on these 'middle-lands'! You only have to listen to the weather forecasts to see how the north and south are somehow more clearly distinguished, often leaving us in limbo – which covers us!

What has changed most about the crafts in the last thirty years

I see a far higher profile for making in recent years, possibly as an antidote to a time-draining urge to engage in social media platforms. Eleven years ago my friends and I formed a 'knit club' and we found that we were part of a blossoming trend towards social creativity (we still meet weekly). It's brilliant to see the joy and skill of making given more prominence on TV and being explained within exhibitions.

Website: http://zoehillyard.com/home