The Paintings & Textiles of Hillery Sproatt
The work of Hillery Sproatt is colorful, thoughtful, free, and full of whimsy. I am drawn to the way she makes each mark and stroke in her paintings – and how these so beautifully transition into textiles. Each step is done with such care and heart, making her functional textiles special in any home they grace.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Hillery about her work – and I am excited to share her responses with you here. Enjoy!
Your work shifts seamlessly between works on paper and textiles. At what point did you begin to move between the two?
My background is in fine art, but I had been interested in designing textiles for years. It wasn’t until the Fall of 2014, that I saw my first painting translated into textiles. I worked in collaboration with Alicia Rosauer and Robert Segal, the owners and designers behind Unison to launch the Harvest Print.
From then on I knew I was hooked. Translating my paintings into textiles is like watching them come to life. There is always a wonderful surprise when you play with scale and material. The painting and the textile, although connected, could not be more different- both objects have integrity.
The Harvest Collection – A Collaboration with Alicia Rosauer and Robert Segal, from Unison
In Layers We Grow
Child Field Fellows Coral
What made you want to pursue a career in art/design/textile design?
A career in art always felt natural. My mom is an artist so I grew up with a sense of pride in using my hands. My creative efforts were always met with encouragement, and I was taught there was value in hand made objects at a very young age.
My mother, Debra Weiss, is a fiber artist and clothing designer, so fabric was a major part of my upbringing. I was heavily influenced by her love of textiles and pattern. Her studio is stocked full of hand pieced quilts, stitched blankets and patterned wool. I often swoon over the Japanese fabrics she sources when designing for her clothing line Rebe by Debra Weiss.
How do your surroundings inspire your practice?
I am very sensitive to my space. I work out of my home and prefer a sunny, sparse space whenever possible.
Where do you draw inspiration for your patterns?
My textiles are inspired by my paintings; they are a re-imagining of small works on paper. My painting and drawing process is very intuitive. Perhaps it’s the surprise of seeing something into existence that excites me, or quieting my mind a bit and letting my hands do the talking.
I draw inspiration from nearly everything I take in; places I’ve visited, conversations I’ve had, books I’m reading or a flower by the side of the road. All these things find their way into my work. At the moment, I find myself inspired by countless self taught artists, children’s drawings, Paul Klee, Picasso, Matisse as well as Scandinavian, Japanese and Eastern European design.
Cluster Blue Blanket
I noticed that you enjoy creating objects for the home. What draws you to this?
I spend much of my time at home and I want it to be a place I love and can love in. I enjoy the relationship I have to my everyday objects. There is so much ritual to our daily tasks and I love the idea that the things we use most can be beautiful and functional.
Designing textiles has opened up a whole new world for me; I am thrilled to be designing functional objects for the home. It affords many people the opportunity to live with a piece of fine art. If my blankets bring joy into the lives of those who live with them, then I feel I am doing something good.
Holland Blanket Royal
What kind of projects make you most excited?
I have never been smitten with the idea of a project. When painting, drawing or working in the ceramics studio, I value being able to play without limitations. I often experience great joy when allowing myself the spaciousness to simply respond to marks, colors and shapes without knowing exactly what they are.
With that said, I do enjoy the challenge and limitations a project affords me. Like working in collaboration, projects can be an interesting place of discovery. They often require you to commit to something, whether it be an idea or an object and see it into being in a timely matter- and this is always exciting!
What does your daily routine look like? As a dedicated artist, what daily habits/practices do you have that you try to stick to each day?
I wish I had a more interesting answer, but my daily practice is rather quiet. I work from home so my morning routine often involves getting dressed, walking the dog and sitting down to a bowl of museli. I try to be as intentional as possible with my daily tasks. Sitting down to the computer is the first thing I do and often the last. A good day consists of getting computer tasks out of the way and making time to paint or be in the ceramics studio- for me, these are the more rewarding moments.
If you would like to see more of Hillery’s work, check it out here!