Zoë Hillyard MSDC
Stitched & Constructed Textiles
Zoë’s work is strongly influenced by ethical concerns and reflects her interest in Asian cultures and aesthetics. Passionate about travel, teaching and making, they provide her with stimulating and diverse contexts in which to explore ideas.
Since graduating in Embroidery in the 1990s, Zoë has worked part-time in academia teaching textile design in a variety of contexts, combining it initially with work in the knitwear industry before later pursuing research interests in the role of craft and design within international development.
She is particularly drawn to remote communities where lives are fundamentally shaped by landscape and climate, and is interested in how textiles and craft skills often play an important part in livelihood activities. A year working in Mongolia provided a valuable insight into a less materialistic approach to living and one that relies on protecting the balance of a fragile environment.
Ceramic Patchwork is all about treasuring rather than amassing possessions, celebrating the stories that materials gather on their journeys. Zoe’s pieces can simply be the result of an interesting combination of unconnected salvaged items. Equally they can be a commission to re-work imagery, textiles or ceramic possessions that have sentimental or historic significance.
Zoë is a member of Contemporary Applied Arts gallery, exhibiting at COLLECT in 2017. In the same year, she ran a public art event titled ‘What do you Treasure?’ as part of London Design Festival, alongside her first solo show in London, Balancing Tensions, at The Anthropologie Gallery.
Zoë showcased her Build Back Better series in Craftspace’s most recent Made in the Middle exhibition - a body of work created in response to the devastating 2015 earthquakes in Nepal.
Her ongoing Kiln Cracked collection makes use of the pieces ceramicists make that emerge from firing flawed.
She has previously created bespoke collections for the British Museum and has made site-specific work for the National Trust. Her work features in the collection of Plymouth Museum & Art Gallery and in international private collections.
She is currently Senior Lecturer in Textile Design at Birmingham City University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.