Hillary Fayle studied embroidery in Manchester for a semester in 2009 whilst in college in the US. Hillary was completely enthralled with the embroidery techniques and processes she had learned and been immersed in. Following this she had a summer job at an environmental summer camp which she had been attending since a child. It was this place that really cemented her love for nature and the outdoors. Hillary describes this experience as one of the most influential events in shaping who she has become today as an adult and an artist.
“I had a few hours off one afternoon, and I kept looking up at this magnificent Oak tree above me, wondering if I might be able to use my needle skills somehow to sew leaves together. I tried it, and it worked, not incredibly well, at first, but it worked, and that was the beginning”.
Starting her mornings beautifully, with a French press full of black coffee she sits on her porch with all her plants and her cat while she drinks it. Sometimes she runs in the morning before the Richmond afternoon heat arrives. Working from home she ensures her workspace and the area around her is tidy and set up for a productive day.
Hillary is inspired by everything around her; the fine details, a particularly well painted house, things in decay, hand painted signs, architecture, typography, pattern, boats, plants, feathers, forests, birds, gardens, the natural world in general. She also loves block prints and of course textiles and embroidery. The way she thinks and makes art mirrors the way she walks through the world,
“By combining material from the natural world and the rich traditions of embroidery, I symbolically bind nature and the human touch”.
Through her gentle but intricate stitch work, she is concerned with expressing the idea that our relationship with the natural world is both tenuously fragile and infinitely complex. In choosing her leaves she is aware of the potential of causing untold damage to a precariously balanced, natural infrastructure. She chooses to work within the parameters of that infrastructure, instead of imposing her own.
Alongside being inspired by artists such as Nancy Blum and Jack Wax, Piper Shephards and Motoi Yamamoto, Hillary takes inspiration from the way artists practice. She is moved by the way they keep their studio, respecting their discipline and motivation. She respects artists who embrace their studio the way they live their lives, with all the same values and considerations.
Hillary’s advice to emerging artists and makers is inspiring. She tells us to do what you love and do a lot of it;
“Work hard and seek out opportunities, don’t wait for them to come your way. Remember to be grateful to the people around you who support you and try to focus on the positive things in your life and in your work”.
In the future Hillary is looking forwards to spending more time in her studio making new pieces and is really excited to be able to pour herself into her work. Hillary says she would love to come back to do a show in Manchester and to see the city again and I can only hope that she does as I would be the first on the doorstep waiting to be let in!
Thanks to Hillary for the beautiful images and for sharing her work with us and thank-you for reading,