I was really pleased to be able to include Hayley Mills-Styles‘ work in the second Shoddy exhibition this month. Beautiful detailed embroidery, drawing on family history and memory, addressing Shoddy themes of history, heritage, disability and re-purposing from a different angle. Here’s Hayley’s statement about her work.

Hayley Mills Styles Deconstruct Reconstruct

Based on my memories of childhood, Deconstruct/Reconstruct is an ongoing project which began in early 2014. I was raised by my paternal grandparents who adopted me at the age of two. My grandfather suffered from Dementia and was unable to recall our most recent family history. My grandmother (who has since passed away) was the only other person I had to share our family history with so I wanted to create work that recorded our fading memories.


Hayley Mills Styles DeconstructReconstructThe catalyst for this body of work was a 1930s sofa, sourced from a local second-hand furniture shop. I have always been fascinated by textiles that remind me of a certain time or place. I love the memories that are released when these fabrics are deconstructed and explored before reconstructing them into new forms.


I have vivid memories of a similar 1930s sofa in our living room, the place where I lay my head when I was unwell, the rough fabric touching my cheek. It was the place I hid from unwanted visitors and where I learnt to knit sitting at my grandmother’s feet.

Each part of the sofa is a memory which I have captured through digital embroidery and text pieces creating an archive of memories which is never complete but grows and changes along with my memories.

As the project has developed I have started to incorporate vintage textiles which have been re-purposed and turned into pieces of work. I have included snippets of thread from the sofa and a tray cloth inherited from my grandmother’s family.


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