Botanical Needlecraft

Hillary Fayle’s natural connection

There is so much to be said for the beauty of simplicity. When I make art, I strive to let the materials speak for themselves; sing their own praise. The materials I use, catch my eye or my heart because they already vibrate with beauty. In transforming these found natural objects into art I’m always trying to augment and interact with what I find essential or important about that object, I try never to interrupt or distract from it.

As a human in this world, I think that connecting with each other and all that which surrounds us is the most essential and important part of being alive and living on this planet.  In that moment of connection with another person, or to an experience or a place, I find a deep sense of gratitude and excitement. This is the root of what I think I’m trying to get at when I make art. The reason I use found botanical material such as leaves, seedpods, feathers, etc. is to explore human connection to the natural physical world.  By combining these organic objects with the rich traditions of needlecraft, I bind nature and the human touch. Both tender and ruthless, this intricate stitch work communicates the idea that our relationship with the natural world is both tenuously fragile and infinitely complex.

The way I think about and make art mirrors the way I think about my life and how I walk through the world.  As a child, I attended a summer camp, which focused on environmental stewardship, and since then cultivating a consciousness about respecting the natural world has been incredibly important to me. I think this pursuit is very evident in the art I make.

I choose to work with totally natural, sustainable and biodegradable materials. When I interact with them, I’m drawing on my own experience with embroidery, which I’ve been interested in as long as I can remember, as well as any other technique I may have picked up along the path. I’m just using what I know and applying it to the materials that make the most sense to me.  As I gather materials with which to work from the forest or the street or the beach or the sidewalk, I consider what connections might exist between us, or how each object might be related to another.

What I do is about conscious decisions and elevating details. It is about noticing natural cycles and fundamental connections. It is about simplicity and respect for the natural world. It is about seeing objects and considering their connection to you, their potential futures, and possible pasts. I believe there is a depth and importance to what is present, and what is absent, and that is what I’m always striving to illuminate.

To view more of Hillary stitchwork, please visit



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