Chloe Hamill utilises textiles as a medium for communication, giving a voice to those who are often unheard. She graduated from Manchester School of Art with a First Class Honours in BA Embroidery and returned there to do a Masters in Textiles, after winning AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) funding for her postgraduate study.
In the past Chloe has worked with refugees, children and different groups of women in the UK and around the world. One of the projects she’s been involved with is running embroidery workshops at Rainbow Haven in Manchester, a drop in centre for refugees and asylum seekers, which provides invaluable support to struggling individuals.
Many asylum seekers have died on their journey to the UK, or through committing suicide, because they’ve been rejected asylum and are fearful of returning to their own country. This issue is prevalent in our society today, but goes unnoticed by many.
Chloe’s work draws a comparison between the migration of birds and that of refugees. She’s considered the feelings of displacement that arise when people are not in their home country.
Inspired by her experiences Chloe developed a series of rucksacks, featuring birds from the same origins as the refugees. After her studies Chloe plans to develop the project further, by applying for funding to teach refugees how to make and sell the bags. The bags have headphones attached which tell the stories of their plight, so that the person buying it can hear about the people they’ve helped.
Shapes can be cut from the bag, providing the pieces to make a three-dimensional bird and also revealing colourful embroidery beneath.
The Slow Movement has impacted on Chloe’s work and her philosophy to designing. It advocates a cultural shift towards slowing down life’s pace. An interpretation of Slow Art relates to being mindful of detail and putting time into creating small items. The practice encourages the maker to be naturally meditative as they create.
Norwegian philosopher Professor Guttorm Fløistad summarises the Slow Movement philosophy here:
The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today. It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal.
Chloe is keen to make sustainability a key focus in her work. She uses fairtrade fabric, or recycled fabrics, whenever possible. For her final Degree Show her fabrics were sponsored by a fairtrade and organic fabric supplier.