Hayley Mills-Styles

How did you get involved with art?
I’ve been making things as long as I can remember. My grandma taught me how to sew, and I used to take apart soft furnishing and clothes to see how they were made, seemed logical to me at the time, but I got into a lot of trouble. I can remember I always to be an artist, whenever I was asked when I grow up. So when I realised I definitely wanted to make fine art textiles, was during my degree (textile crafts at Huddersfield, it was an amazing course, we got access to lots of exciting equipment and try so many things).
After graduation, I did ‘boring’ jobs to pay the bills and in my spare time I created art. It was 2012 when I had built a few clients to teach textiles to, that I decided to take the plunge and go freelance. So now I do a lot of teaching across Leeds and further afield, I also make work for commissions, and work on projects with other artists.

2014 I did my Masters in Textiles at Manchester School of Art, my grandma had dementia (and sadly she couldn’t remember my child hood) and inspired by this started making work that recorded my memories of childhood. That was exhibited as part of my MA show and it got a really positive response to how I had shown memories using textiles. In 2016 I was commissioned by Hoot Creative Arts, who I had been working with as part of their new blood programme for emerging artist, to create a piece of work about mental health, but I didn’t feel comfortable talking about or sharing other people’s experiences, so the only other alternative was for it to be about my own. And the response to that was overwhelming, I got messages from people who thanked me for sharing it because it resonated with them, it wasn’t an outcome I was expecting. So, I am still creating work about my own story, including responding to the Thackeray Museum collection, and most recently Whitby Museum, which is on show from 15 September until 18 November. More about the exhibition can be found on my website.

It is also important for me to continuously learn about the industry and just network and meet new people, it helps me to understand how practice can evolve.

What art forms are you working with or enjoy the most?
Predominantly work with textiels, and I use a combination of hand and digital embroidery. Digital embroidery is an interesting way to develop my photography and drawing into stitched images.

How does the word CONNECT resonate with you?
My exhibition explores my connection with food and emotional overeating. In 2017 I recorded everything I ate and drank, including my mental health, to see if I could find connections between my mood and what I ate – I was inspired by the philosopher George Perec’s essay “Attempt at an Inventory of the Liquid and Solid Food stuffs Ingurgitated by Me in the Course of the Year Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-Four,” which is in Species of Spaces pages 244-49.

Tell me more about your exhibition/event for Love Arts? Where and when can we find you?
I am exhibiting in the drawing room, which is on the 1st floor of Leeds Central Library, and it is called ‘Girls Who Eat Their Feelings’ – which is a line from the film Mean Girls! I am also running a couple of drop in workshops, where people can make their own felt food.
[You can find out more about her exhibition and workshop here]

Have you exhibited before?
Yes, I have exhibited in musuems and heritage sites across the north, including Sunnybank Mills in Farsley, and Leeds City Museum for the 2016 Love Arts Festival.

How has Arts and Minds helped you with showcasing your work?
They have given me a platform to reach new audiences, and helped me to feel more included in the creative community in Leeds.

From Archive & Other Stories