Artist interview between Shannon Skye Robinson (Curating Futures Project Coordinator), and Catherine Hill (Curating Futures Artist).
Date of Interview: 25th of July 2021
Participants: Shannon Skye Robinson (SSR) and Catherine Hill (CH)
SSR: What is your background?
CH: My background is in Mathematics and Computing. After starting a family, I took a part-time position in a Patchwork and Quilting shop. Each day involved working with colour, shape and pattern in addition to planning and constructing large bed quilts for display.
SSR: How did you get into art/ creativity?
CH: As a child, I was surrounded by family who work creatively with cloth and thread so it was a natural thing for me to be drawn to. Patchwork and quilting involved lots of machine stitching and a sense of manufacturing throughput of projects. I wanted a slower way of working. After a period of experimentation, my work evolved into smaller artworks of textured, pieced cloth and embroidered surface design. Each of my small pieces now comprises hours of detailed hand stitching.
SSR: What do you get out of producing work?
CH: Mindfulness. Making is an escape from the noise and stress of everyday life.
SSR: What are the main concepts or themes you explore within your work?
CH: Some people write memoirs, I capture my memories in stitch. Each piece is based around my Lancashire roots and often includes Lancashire Dialect poetry.
My creative philosophy is to reuse and repurpose where possible. Threads and cloth are either sourced from thrift stores or have been gifted to me. Each year I create a limited collection of eco prints for my art using leaves and flowers from my garden.
SSR: What is the main thing you have learnt through your creative practice?
CH: How to plan and when to stop. Years ago, I would dive into a project not knowing where the piece was going. I’ve since developed my skills and confidence as an artist. Before I take the first stitch, I’ve planned the design (from start to completion), materials involved and also have a mental picture of how it will be mounted and displayed.
SSR: What is the best piece of advice you could give to another artist, or someone just starting out in the creative sector?
CH: Visit exhibitions and galleries. Experience all kinds of art. Look at colour, texture and shape. Try any technique you can and experiment. Over time you’ll develop and discover your own voice.
SSR: Why did you decide to join the Curating Futures community?
CH: The philosophies of the Curating Futures community appeal to me. I find that working in a collaborative way provides creative opportunities both for myself and others. It makes me think of my own creative process in a different way and allows me to share with others in a ‘safe and like-minded’ space.