ZoŽ Hillyard is a Birmingham based artist who uses the tradition of hand-stitched patchwork as a mending process to revive the fortunes of discarded and broken ceramics. She replaces their original surface decoration with vintage textiles as she wraps individual fragments and then reassembles them, solely by stitch. Each piece is unique, with a flawed beauty that celebrates imperfection.
Having spent a year working as a VSO volunteer in Mongolia, Hillyard draws particular inspiration from the resourcefulness of nomadic life. Through adding new chapters to the journeys of existing objects, she seeks to question and strengthen our relationship to possessions. The Japanese ceramic mending tradition of Yobitsugi often challenges western conventions in relation to patching and this provides a reference for ongoing explorations into colour and pattern combinations.
Ceramic patchwork pieces are seductively tactile, with a surprising handling quality. Pieces can simply be the result of an interesting combination of unconnected second-hand items; equally they can be a commission to re-work imagery, textiles or ceramic possessions that have sentimental or historic value. They are designed to delight and to be treasured for the long-term.