Zoe Hillyard, a lecturer in BIAD’s School of Fashion, Textiles and 3 Dimensional Design has worked closely with archives and ceramics.
The Ceramic Patchwork Collections
Ceramic patchwork is an original craft process developed by Zoe Hillyard that represents a new take on the cross-over between the textile and ceramic disciplines.
In 2011 Hillyard was commission to produce series of one-off handcrafted retail art products, unique to the British Museum, that reflect aspects of its own collections. She worked with the British Museum’s digital archives to inspire ceramic patchwork process where historic documents (such as old maps of London) were printed on to fabric and applied to smashed pieces of pottery sourced from charity shops. These can then be reassembled into new forms into a visuo-tactile, three-dimensional metaphor for the British Museum’s enterprise of re-discovery. The first collection used a map of London printed in 1825 and titled 'Cary's New & Accurate Map of London & Westminster'. The second collection used imagery from a number of oriental ceramic plates.
Following the success of this work further collections were commissioned to coincide with specific exhibitions. For ‘Shakespeare: Staging the World’, that started in July 2012, one collection was based on an etching of Queen Elizabeth 1st. And another reworks one of The Armada Plates, a hand-coloured engraving depicting the movements of the Spanish and English fleets in 1588.
Made In The Middle
Made in the Middle is Craftspace's, a crafts development organisation, tri-annual open exhibition that has charted over two decades of professional contemporary craft practice in the Midlands.
In 2012 Hillyard looked at the role the Midland’s potteries, inspired by the legacy of Stoke-on-Trent ceramic manufacturer Spode and her interest in the trade that brought Chinese porcelain to Europe. Research visits were undertaken to a number of museums and exhibitions including British Ceramics Biennial. Series of photographs were taken in the old Spode factory by which Hillyard sought to capture evidence of manufacturing through the materiality of the building; marks left behind on the walls, floors and equipment.
From these photographs she created blue and white imagery digitally printed onto silk and used to produce ceramic patchwork pieces invoking the region’s tradition of producing oriental china. Hillyard uses the silk fabric to rebuild shattered ceramics deploying only hand-stitching to hold the pieces together – as such the process represents a new application and context for traditional textile craft skill.