Graduating in Embroidery, Zoe's career has combined part-time lecturing with a range of other roles. Initially producing embellished knitwear for the fashion industry and later designing tailored knitwear collections for Marion Foale.
An interest in the role of craft production as a livelihood strategy overseas saw Zoe developing research interests in the dynamics of rural craft production and the use of design as a strategy within an international development context. This led her to spend a sabbatical year developing design education provision at the Textile Institute in Mongolia with the charity VSO.
A thesis exploring the potential of yak fibre for rural development in Mongolia followed as part of an MSc in Applied Development Studies at Reading University. This experience laid the foundations of her current craft based practice called ceramic patchwork. Using the tradition of hand-stitched patchwork as a mending process, the work uses textiles to revive discarded and broken ceramics, creating a new tactile aesthetic for familiar forms. Pieces can simply be the result of an interesting combination of unconnected salvaged items; equally they can be the re-working of imagery, textiles or ceramic possessions which have sentimental value.
As a result of being selected to participate at a number of nationally recognised craft fairs, commission based opportunities have led to; the development of a body of work inspired by the Spode factory in Stoke on Trent, a collection reworking oriental ceramic imagery for the British Museum, another collection to accompany their Shakespeare: Staging the World exhibition and a number of private commissions.
Facebook business page: Zoe Hillyard Ceramic Patchwork