Hilary Collins is a textile artist who creates luxurious, silk scarves and accessories. We spoke to Hilary about her style evolution and got her advice for artists who are starting out.
How did you develop your style?
I find my work is constantly and gradually evolving all the time, really. Working with SOL Design Collective has encouraged me to think in new ways, and to reassess what I’m doing, and how I’m doing it. This has manifested in my being inspired for, and creating new work, not only in my hand dyed and hand printed/painted textiles, also in my designing prints which have been printed digitally, which is very new for me, and exciting.
Getting my ideas translated onto digitally printed fabrics is also a huge boost, collaborating with
others has enabled me to fill in the gaps in my knowledge, making this possible. I now have these connections available, for the future, as well. I am in the process of making these fabrics into yoga cushions, lampshades and another range of eye pillows. Using different types of technology is both liberating and eye opening for me.
I have designed a new range of products and developed a new technique of carving Lino cuts, with my own designs, which I’m then printing onto my hand dyed silks, and finishing them with touches of gold, using foil/thread/paint. I’m applying this to my scarves, eye pillows and framed artworks. It feels very exciting to be taking these steps, and it feels good to be making products which are not only new, also cost effective.
A lot of your work features the Mandala, what does this mean to you and why do you use it on your pieces?
The Mandala can be seen as a symbol of a ‘complete universe’ and can be used as an aid to meditation. It has inspired me a lot with my connections to yoga/meditation/mindfulness, and I love the circular ‘completeness’ of it, after years of designing repeating patterns! It is a symbol, for me, of where I am in my life, in a sense, as well.
What is your favourite way of coming up with new designs, perhaps you can tell us a little about your process?
There are several steps in my designing process: dyeing, printing/painting, sewing. I work quite intuitively, being drawn to colours which feel right for now, to me. I also like a kind of knocked back, slightly vintage feel, colour wise. I dye silk in a big vat; silk is printed using a bleaching out technique, taking colour out of the background colour I’ve dyed; gold is applied either with foil, paint, or thread. With my artworks, I intuitively choose empowering words which feel right with my textile silk art pieces.
Where do you do your work?
I work from my home in Kent. I’m about to move to a larger room in my house, as my current workroom is tiny, very cosy! I will get to have all of my equipment in one space, instead of all dotted around the house, including my meditation space. Perhaps this will inspire me in new ways, too.
Where do you exhibit and sell your work?
I exhibit at craft fairs in the South East of UK, Dulwich, Brighton, Farnham, Kingston. I have started doing holistic fairs as well, which are aligned with my interests. This Autumn I have The Wellness fair in Sevenoaks on 7 Oct; Festival of Crafts at Farnham Maltings on 28/29 Oct; Dulwich Bazaar on 11 Nov; Dulwich College fair on 26 Nov; and throughout weekends in Dec, (I think), a Market with Magic of Foresters, at their Christmas tree farm, Keston in Kent.
What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just starting to establish their business?
To an artist establishing their business, I’d say, ‘Follow your Heart’.
Thank you so much for speaking to us, Hilary, and for sharing this insight into your work.
Do you want to see more from Hilary? Check out her website here: hilarycollins.co.uk
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