Thursday, 21 June 2012

Two major awards for Zoë Hillyard's ceramics

Congratulations to  Zoë  Hillyard who has won two prestigious prizes for  her ceramic patchwork vases.

Zoë scooped the awards at the Bovey Tracy Contemporary Craft Festival. Homes & Antiques presented her with the 'Antique of the Future' accolade.  Her second award - the ‘Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery Purchase Prize’came courtesy of The Friends of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery who selected a piece of  Zoë 's ceramic patchwork for their contemporary craft collection.

Zoë  uses 'hand-stitched tradition of patchwork as a mending process'       

Zoë who is a lecturer in embroidery at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University. is a very committed member of Interiors & Lifestyle Futures and an alumni of our Visioning workshop programme. 

With a fast growing reputation for the uniqueness of her work, many exhibitions and galleries are vying to display Zoe's ceramics. She  was showing for the first time at Bovey Tracey following a successful collaboration with the British Museum, creating pieces inspired by artefacts within their archives.

Zoë uses the hand-stitched tradition of patchwork as a mending process to revive discarded and broken ceramics. "The original surface decoration is replaced by printed textile design as individual fragments are covered with fabric and re-assembled solely by stitch,"explains Zoë.

"Each piece becomes a highly individual decorative vessel with a flawed beauty that is the result of its material history. The catalyst for the idea was the simple breaking of a bowl in my kitchen."

 The imaginative process led Zoë to consider how it could be patched together and while the bowl went in the bin the idea remained.

"I'm interested in the lifecycle of objects and in building value into the things we own. The ceramics used have already lived a life: originally mass-produced, they are sourced from charity shops or car boot sales. The fabrics, mostly silk, are discarded fashion items similarly sourced. The process of re-making brings a new chapter to the journeys of both elements and in a combined reincarnation they start out on a new adventure."

A vase of  Zoë's at the March Interiors & Lifestyle Futures' exhibition     

Zoë is currently exhibiting in Made in the Middle, a touring exhibition which tri-annually surveys contemporary craft practice in the Midlands. "The work featured was inspired by the legacy of Stoke-on-Trent ceramic manufacturing and uses digitally printed textile designs developed from photography taken in the old Spode factory, adds  Zoë. "The blue and white ceramic patchwork pieces continue the region’s long tradition of producing oriental china."

Two new collections of Zoë's work will be launched this month in the British Museum’s Grenville Shop to coincide with the Shakespeare: Staging the World exhibition. The first collection re-works an exquisite 1592 etching of Queen Elizabeth the First. The second uses a hand-coloured engraving showing the paths of the Spanish and English fleets in 1588 and is part of the series of maps that make up The Armada Plates.

And, if you'd like to own one of Zoë's collectable pieces she accepts commissions and welcomes opportunities to use her sophisticated process of up-cycling to breathe new life into materials. You can contact her through her website: or by email: 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Birmingham Made Me Design Expo 15-22 June

You must make room in your diary sometime between Friday 15 and Friday 22 June. You won't want to miss the  Birmingham Made Me Design Expo - a week-long celebration of the best of Midlands design and innovation. 

The Design Expo takes place at Birmingham’s Mailbox and will include a series of exhibitions, seminars and events. It involves many of the region’s renowned manufacturers, designers and producers (AGA, Jaguar , Land Rover and Pashley Cycles among others) supported by ‘a wealth of new talent showcasing innovations for the future.’

Interiors & Lifestyle Futures is naturally delighted that the design and manufacturing talent of our member companies is well-represented at the Birmingham Made Me Design Expo:
  • Interiors & Lifestyle (Zone 1) – Level 3
  • Interiors & Lifestyle Futures (Zone 2) – Level 5
  • Jewellery & Silversmithing – Level 5
  • Entrepreneurs Store  - Level 3

Birmingham Made Me Design Expo (15-22 June), The Mailbox, 61 Wharfside Street Birmingham B1 1XL

Opening times:
  • Monday - Saturday: 11.00am – 7.00pm
  • Sunday: 11.00am – 4.00pmFor full background to the Design Expo and schedule of events please see here