Thursday 17 March 2016

Hayley Mills-Styles comes to York

Hayley Mills-Styles

Recently Hayley Mills-Styles came to the City of York Embroiderers' Guild to tell us about her work.  Hayley describes herself as a thread artist and is based in Leeds. Taught to sew by her Grandma, Hayley studied Textile Practice at Huddersfield University and then went on to do a Masters in Textiles at Manchester Metropolitan University.  Although Hayley has made things from a young age, her degree work has taught her to think about the reasons behind her making.  She likes to tell stories using fabric and thread, some of which are autobiographical, some are about the lives of others or about memory and place.

Hayley Mills Styles - Sofa patches from the Deconstruct/Reconstruct project
Hayley found a sofa like that of her grandparents and took it apart and worked on it to create memory pieces.

Hayley Mills-Styles - Pieces from the Warm & the Cold project
Working on a project entitled the Warm and the Cold (title taken from the poem by Ted Hughes) with Arthur & Martha (poet Philip Davenport & artist Lois Blackburn), Hayley helped homeless people in Manchester capture some of their thoughts on warmth and cold in stitch.

Hayley Mills-Styles - Map Portraits from 365 Leeds Stories
Hayley created map portraits as part of a collaborative project about Leeds residents - 365 Leeds Stories. Workshops were held in a pub and residents embroidered onto maps printed onto cotton.

Hayley's current work is inspired by the Yorkshire coast and the poem Sea Fever by John Masefield.  She likes to go beachcombing on Runswick Bay and uses the found items in her work.  Photography is also important. Hayley doesn't keep sketchbooks prefering to keep a journal detailing how she makes things and what she has done. Starting with a photo, Hayley will wonder how to recreate it in stitch and it will inspire techniques e.g. couching, wrapping threads, dorset buttons etc.  In doing this she builds what Bren Boardman describes as "artistic muscle".  For her machine embroidery, Hayley uses a Pfaff Creative 3.0 sewing/embroidery machine and filmoplast as a stabiliser in some of her work and aquasol (solufleece) which is a strong soluble fabric, unlikely to tear, for other pieces.

Hayley Mills Styles - Digital machine embroidery (detail) from current work inspired by the Yorkshire coast.

If you're York based, you may have seen Hayley's work in the recent "Made to Measure" exhibition at the Lotte Inch Gallery on Bootham.

It was an interesting talk all about Hayley's work together with helpful tips on useful products.

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