The short version
hils — that’s me or Hilary! when I’ve been naughty!
mill — that’s the making and creating, also me!
The longer version…
Born 1958, Liverpool.
Brought up with 5 brothers (though they didn’t have to wear dresses and ribbons).
Learned to make things — knitting and sewing from mum. Watched how to make things — dad in his workshop (or room in the cellar). Mum and dad building a boat… Enjoyed what was made — holidays on the canal.
Naughtiness – Hilary!
1974 Work — shops, pubs, b&b’s, factories, hotels…
Naughtiness — Hilary!
Work — blah, blah, blah….
First independent home (bedsit in Birkenhead).
No money, needed shelves, MADE THEM – a bit wonky.
1981 Vocation..? Nurse Blackburn!
Grown up home — little money, needed furniture — MADE IT —less wonky…
Need more furniture!!! MADE IT, I’m getting quite good at this –I LOVE making things!
Even less money. Need more furniture…
1987 Want to learn how to make things PROPERLY with joints and all…
1995 Careers advice? At my age?
NOW New Opportunities for Women
Funded through the European Commission, (I love the EU. DOH Brexit)
• No course fees
• Creche or childcare assistance provided
• Previous qualifications are not essential
• Travel allowance
A course to gain a BTEC National Diploma in Art & Design, with a specialism in FURNITURE I’ve discovered a parallel universe, where miracles happen, and it only gets better.
Fantastic 2 years at Kingsway College in lovely Clerkenwell. Very hard work with 3 young children, sometimes getting only a couple of hours sleep a night writing essays, meeting deadlines etc. But I LOVED every second. Two BRILLIANT tutors who opened my naive mind and eyes to the whole new world of ART and DESIGN…….
They also gave me CONFIDENCE.
Uni..? At my age?
1997 WOOOHOO Offered a place on HND Furniture Design and Realisation course AS WELL AS BA in Furniture Design at London Guildhall University. I have a choice!!!! Obviously went for the HND – I LOVE making things. Fantastic facilities at LGU. Didn’t make as much but learned a whole heap more…
Designed with a restricted length of tubular steel made by cutting and braising joints. Cherrywood shelf. Powder coated finish.
Designed to comfortably seat people of different heights. Welded and powder coated tubular steel frame foam upholstery provided by Vitafoam. Leather provided by Andrew Muirhead
Encouraged to enter the grandly named Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers Vitafoam Design Prize I was amazed when I won joint first prize — an Award! And some money! And the chance to exhibit at the New Designers Exhibition at the Business Design Centre, Islington. Where I won another award – from the, (not so grandly named, but very relevant), Contract Furnishing Association.
The prize, awarded to 10 UK Graduates, was to exhibit at the massive Interiors Exhibition INDEX, Dubai.
An amazing opportunity and experience some Red Wrap press…
Well not quite, with lots of interest and possible orders I had no manufacturer and little clue about how to find one, only the beginnings of the internet back then….2003 Struggling to make ends meet, with 3 hungry kids I get a job ART & Design Technician in the art dept. at NewVic sixth form college. I’ve been there ever since and love many aspects of the job.
I’ve met some amazingly talented artists and teachers, colleagues AND friends who have been inspirational and encouraging, learned many new skills and found hidden aptitude in other disciplines such as textiles. But ultimately it has given me the freedom to experiment, make and create free from financial burden of having to sell what I make.And now I have built up a body of work and things in the pipeline, I know manufacturers and how to find them. Thanks Kate Hills at Make it British. I’m ready to start my business…at my age? YES
Ps. I might revisit the sofa….
Five things I didn’t include about hils
1. Obviously personal details
2. Images of everything I’ve ever made – too many and some too embarrassing!
3. I was taught by Mrs Paisley, (Bob Paisley’s! wife) at primary school, who got us all to stand up one day and told us Winston Churchill had died. She also gave us Lincoln biscuits and milk every morning, (I loved those milk and biscuits. DOH Margaret Thatcher…).
4. That I designed and made a table for a well-known anarchic magician/comedian.
5. All the naughtiness – Hilary!
Plus, thanks to all the amazing friends, colleagues and most especially my family
Love hils x