Young Suffragettes- Hannah Hill changing the world, one little piece of embroidered art at a time

Photography by Joanna Kiely, Styling by Jilian Banjoko

“I’m an artist that happens to use textiles”, Hannah Hill tells me with here eyes to the floor. It’s as if she’s unsure of her blatantly bold statement; it doesn’t seem to be in Hill’s nature to gloat about her unquestionable talent. After studying Textile Design in Birmingham for a year, Hill made the last minute decision to transfer to Fine Art after feeling “incredibly depressed” throughout the year. After just five minutes of conversation with her it seems like this was the right decision. Under the pseudonym hanecdote, it’s through her hand embroidered patches (not her design of carpets and bedsheets) that she’s changing the world; one little piece of embroidered art at a time.

They’re cheap and (relatively) cheerful; accessible to anyone with a wifi connection and a spare tenner in their pocket. Considering this, the fact that mental health plays a large part in Hill’s patches, as she is a sufferer herself, is pivotal. They feature “motifs people can relate to - but the other side of that is making mental health [related] patches that encourage and support sufferers of mental health problems”. Her Little Victories patches, with slogans such as ‘got dressed’, or, ‘did some self care’ stitched on to them “reward people for things that could be easy for normal people but mental health sufferers find more difficult to deal with. Some people don’t say how hard things are”. 

It all started 4 years ago when she first picked up the needle. “My mum’s always sewn and it’s always been around me,” she explains, “I’ve grown up around craft and stuff like that [so] it sort of just came naturally.” After struggling to find a job at 17 (something we can all relate to) she sowed the seeds of her business from selling screen printed t-shirts and “crudely” embroidered patches. After a while, when she started making some money, it “evolved from making these fun patches into something that expressed my political beliefs and things that I wanna stand up for”.

As an artist, however, she doesn’t just sell patches. In September she took part in a project for PSST Zine which tackles the subjects of death, racism and privacy in regards to technology. “They wanted to look at artists that [provide a] commentary about the society that we live in”, she explains. Although hanecdote is a brand reliant on technology (most of her clients are international), Hill is still dubious about our generation’s techno-worship. She explains: “as someone who is obsessed with Instagram and runs an international business from my laptop and phone I have a love hate relationship with technology”. It’s an issue which she feels more young people should be looking at.

Despite her art student status, you could never pigeon-hole her as an aspiring Tracey Emin-type - especially considering her political views. On Jeremy Corbyn appointing Luciana Berger as Minister for Mental Health last month - the first of its kind - she explains: “it shows that he cares…other politicians have made comments about how [mental health] needs to be better supported but haven't made the change”. A far cry from Emin’s right wing tendencies.

Despite her business now taking off, Hill doesn't really want to continue making these patches. “It’s kind of draining, I’ve made about 1000 patches…I just want to make art, really”. So what’s next? “I’ve got over 100 nudes i’m gonna embroider over the course of the year. It’s looking at female sexuality but also about…normalising the naked body”. On that note I’d advise you to buy up her patches now as these little gems might not be around for much longer.

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