Lockdown Thoughts . . .

So it’s been 3 months working from home. At first I worked like nothing much had happened, except at home, making collages as I’m unable to make jewellery at home, less days, 5 instead of 6, and shorter days though my days now start at silly o’clock as the weeks have gone on, they are also less interrupted, slower making, more considered, and it was lovely, simple. I like the no commute mornings, eating lunch from an actual bowl, birds singing and my garden view, and seeing my partners face every day. Bliss.

Then I wobbled.

Then I got back on my feet and attempted to draw and learn calligraphy, both on my list of what I would do if only I had time and space. I took online calligraphy workshops, though they were an essential start I soon decided, predictably, to do it my own way. My drawing is rusty and was totally unsure of what and how. So, feeling a little lost I posted my drawings and writings so far in stories on Instagram as a good way to see things from a different angle and objectively. The feedback was great, I’m used to comments about my finished work from having a shop so it feels only right. And so I thought I’d share them here too so I don’t loose momentum and hopefully it will push me to continue. Somehow!

There seems to always be a bit of ephemera weave in my books when I need to find direction, not sure why but it is satisfying to do and nice to see words fragmented.
Testing colours on kraft paper for fragment collages made early on in lockdown. But they are reminding me how much I love colour in jewellery and how I’d like to include colour and shape like the fragments, into my future jewellery, somehow!
Calligraphy workshop practising. I worked through all the pens I had and all of my new sketch book that I expected to use over this year had I still been at the studio.
I tried brush and ink. I normally don’t like writing in blue ink but I love the inky blue handwriting found on postcards. I liked the practise marks you need to do in calligraphy too.
All the letters. Having used all my pens I worked through any marker pen I could find but it was good to work out style of letters and movements.
Sad and tragic news made us slow even more.
Looking at the alphabet . . . Looks like stitching.
Pattern making.
Looking at each letter individually, who doesn’t like a repeat pattern!? With viewfinders that refer to jewellery shapes, but how to translate into jewellery?
Unsure of what I was doing I decided to start drawing, very rusty but nice to draw again, something I regret not keeping going over the (many) years .
Buttons. Not got the hang of it yet but it’s a start!
Back to practice mark making in a brush and ink made me think of jewellery so I chopped out a couple of oval viewfinders to locate some nice areas that mixed a few patterns.
Worked on them a little more. Not sure how to translate them into jewellery yet, or if they will end up being used. We shall see!
Back to drawing. I like old advertising tins, with writing, of course I do.
I decided to visit the British Museum, albeit online and pretend I was wandering and drawing my findings. A statue and two Nigerian carved ivory cuffs.
Nigerian calabash bowl with motto. All the items I’ve chosen to draw are made by people from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria.
Nigerian cup in carved wood. I’ve always loved the Africa section of the museum and have since wandered around museums with my partner, who is Nigerian (Yoruba) and now learn so much more than the labels describe. About how objects are really used and that they are still in use. There always an old man who lived down his road that would carve wood into objects like this. There was also a man on the street who owned a crocodile!
Nigerian cuff . . . and I also learned about the items that have been stolen from Nigerian palaces, yikes, they know you know! He told me to hurry up drawing these items before they have to be returned!

So I intend to continue writing and drawing and see where it takes me. Hopefully to new jewellery when we return in August. I may just share again here before then. If you are still reading, thank you and hi!

Collages online

New Postcard Collages have been to my online shop, a good few have already gone but I will adding more soon!

I have also added new mini Fragment Collages too. I’ve made more with double shapes but still kept the singles as they are great when they are displayed in groups, take a look here . . .


Postcard Collages
Fragment Collages

Locket commission

A few months ago I received a lovely commission. The customer wanted a locket to give to his daughter on her wedding day that contained a photo of her mother. He wanted it to slid open rather than the traditional hinge design, to be decorated on the top, but not too fussy, to be white silver, to include something green, his daughters favourite colour and along the way we added the inscription on the reverse which included the date of the wedding.

After some discussion, designing and making samples, this way the final piece, with some work in progress. The design is now online for others to order to their preferences . . .

Collage Brooches

I’ve have just completed a new series of collage brooches. It’s been a few years since I’ve made any of my one off collage brooches, they need a lot more time to figure out and go through many versions before I can get making.

The initial idea was to work with layering of my materials, oxidised silver which I’ve reduced the larger sections to a grey finish to contrast with the upper smaller layers, larger pieces of ruler, settings in oval and irregular hexagons with a split of handwriting and image side of postcards, and then various elements, linear fragments, few brass elements which I liked the colour of with the greys and woods, and then hints of gold leaf highlights. And of course a scattering of gold tube rivets.

I took progress images along the way . . . and have added the results to my online shop

New Postcard Collages

I’ve just completed another collection of Postcard Collages. They are the size of an old fashioned postcard and the base of each is constructed from two halves of contrasting old postcards. Layers of old and new elements, painted, drawn on and stitched have been added, with the occasional old found pin. You can see them at my shop or a selection to follow


50th Birthday Collage Commission

A recent collage commission for a 50th birthday included a 50p coin from the receivers year of birth; a postcard of Nottingham where she studied; a tape measure, stitches and pins representing her studies in fashion, and her initial. The commissioners for this collage didn’t have a collection of papers already, so instead we worked together to find old items that were relevant to the receiver to make it personal. These items were then combined with ephemera and elements that I have, and that complimented them well.

Once items are sourced and gathered together I always create up a mock up, all paper clipped together to check the buyers are happy. A tweak or two sometimes happens before I get completing the piece. This is the process this collage went through until it was complete . . .

New Collages

New postcard collages are available from Clare Hillerby Studio / Shop. They are a special edition of the collage / cards I’ve been making for awhile now. But have more painted elements and stitch and ready to be framed. The collages are postcard sized mounted on snow white board, are £17 each + postage and can be viewed at the shop, or get in touch for more details.

Our Northern Quarter

One of the things that pulled me to Manchester was the Northern Quarter, it has such a great creative atmosphere. A year after I arrived here I managed to move my studio to Manchester Craft + Design Centre in the heart of the Northern Quarter, 5 years further on, I still love the Northern Quarter, and of course have my own studio / shop.

There are a few things going on here at the moment that make it worth a visit . . .

Bee in the City continues until 23 September, over a 100 bees decorated by various artists are situated all around the city. We have a large and a few baby bees at the Craft Centre and you can pick up a trail map here too.

Heritage Open Weekend continues this weekend, 13 to 16 September. An annual festival allowing people to visit places that are often hidden or to find out more about our history. MCDC will be joining in this Saturday 15 September with free tours and a ceramic workshop, and of course all of our studios will be open as usual.

Our next exhibition will also be open on Saturday, A Journey Home, it launches this Thursday and continues until 17 November. It is the first UK solo show by Eunmi Kim, her ceramics explore what it means to be Korean and traditional Korean art and is part of Asia Triennial Manchester. I have been following Eunmi’s preparations over on Instagram, her work is beautiful and I can’t wait for this!

You can really make a day of this area as there are so many nice shops and cafes to choose from, and restaurants and bars for a little later on. One of my favourite cafes is Fig + Sparrow on Oldham Road, I love the interior as much as the food.

Whenever I’m in need of a florist, there are two that I always support, Northern Flower on Tib Street (opposite MCDC and next door to Sugar Junction, a very popular cafe) as well as Flourish at the Market Street (shopping high street) end of Tib Street, they both always have such an great interesting choice.

Back on Oldham Street, near Fig & Sparrow, there are plenty of vintage clothes, record and book shops. Oldham Road leads north from Piccadilly Gardens, the city centre and the Northern Quarter leads on to Piccadilly train station, so it’s an easy walking distance.

Around the corner is a shop most makers at MCDC couldn’t live without, Fred Aldous as it supplies so much for our making lives

But while you’re wandering around the Northern Quarter remember, look up and look down, look around, there are so many works of street art everywhere, painted bees of course, things from last years Cities of Hope and changing pieces, just keep wandering!

And if you’re looking at this one then look left to find, another bee, and MCDC!

Hope to see you soon!

Birthday number 3

It’s my third birthday in the studio / shop at Manchester Craft and Design Centre and I still love it like it’s day one.

I am so appreciative of all the lovely customers I’ve had over those years and all the appreciation, feedback, encouragement and odd conversations, I’ve had a few good odd ones! It’s great to see how people react to the work and the unexpected ways that links them to it. It’s been great to develop collage commissions with people, assembling and archiving their treasured paper memories. And it’s been brilliant to make bespoke jewellery, tailored to people’s wants, tastes and budgets!

Thank you everyone who has stepped into my little space and enjoyed being there! Your support means I can keep doing what I was made to do! Thank you x

Current Collages

I wanted to share some recent collages with you. As always they incorporate old postcards and other ephemera, a little more stitching, my white printed papers achieved through my jewellery making process, and an occasional very long oxidised old pin! I have worked into them more with paint this time, experimenting with textures and concentrating on a muted warm palette that I seem to be drawn to lately.

They are all one-offs as usual and measure 25cm square with a small (glass-less) frame. I removed the glass as it was reducing the colours and details!

They are available from my studio / shop though I’m happy to send along more details on request and post. Hope you like!