Introducing Textile Artist Hayley F. James
We had the opportunity to speak with Hayley F. James, a textile artist living and working in sunny Southern California. She loves to design usable, wearable art that can and should be used for your everyday. Each piece is hand woven with natural wool and cotton on her large floor loom. To view her collection of woven goods, click here.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got into weaving and textile design.
I grew up in Southern California and I graduated from Long Beach State College with a BFA in Fiber Art. I have always loved drawing, painting, making crafts. I just loved to make things and I was always fascinated with fabric and sewing. It was never really a question for me in what direction I wanted to pursue in terms of an education and career. I knew I was going to major in art so I started off at community college and then transferred to CSULB. I thought I would pursue a BFA in painting and drawing, but I was finding that I was more interested in other mediums. My friend Krista told me about the little fiber department and that was pretty much when I started taking classes in fiber and started my emphasis. The combination of art and textiles made the fiber department a great place for me and my interests.
I bought my loom from the head of the fiber department Carol Shaw-Sutton after graduation and I have been weaving on it ever since. From there, I found that I was really attracted to design, so I started creating wearable art after graduation. I felt really happy designing usable, wearable items.
What is most important to you when you set out to create a new product?
When I create a new product I want it to be something original. It’s important to me to figure out how I will combine art and design. I think a lot about where my product fits in with the global market. It must be unique, it has to have a style that looks well made, but also has a handmade quality. Otherwise, why not just buy something from Target?
I also place a lot of importance on the quality of my product. I feel like it is my responsibility to create something well made that will be in use for a long time. I love it when friends and family talk about how they still use bags I have given them. It’s always interesting seeing them holding up after a few years of thorough use!
Where do you look for inspiration?
I definitely find inspiration from working on projects and trying things out. Just trying new things is definitely the best way. I love to look at other artists' work, but I feel that attempting to find inspiration from them too much can make your own work look derivative.
What do you love about living and working in Southern California?
Well, I have only ever lived in Southern California, but I am becoming increasingly appreciative of the weather. Working in Southern California is all I have ever known. I would say its really great. There is a lot of room to make large pieces and for storage. There is a lot of diversity in California and every city has its own character.
Describe your ideal Sunday.
Start of drinking couple cups of coffee and eat some good food throughout the day. I like to separate myself from my work for at least one day a week. Spending time watching television on Sunday night in bed is also something I look forward to.
If you could do any other occupation, what would it be?
I wish I had enough time to do everything! I really wish that I could make an entire wardrobe, build a house, make furniture, be a painter, etc… But, if I could anything else maybe I would become and interior designer.
What is your favorite artist in any field, living or dead?
I love so many artists that that is an impossible question for me to answer! I love so many women artists. I love to hear about other women's experiences making art. It can be such a complex balance trying to live life, make money, and make art. Most of all, I love all of my artist friends! I love to see my friends’ art because they are my peers and I can relate in that sense, but they also have diverse and unique experiences that they express through their work.
What is next?
I would love to start making other products outside of accessories! Currently, I am finding ways of making products faster and exploring other weaving techniques.