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Life & Work with Hillary Dalyai

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hillary Dalyai.

Hi Hillary, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Hey! I’m Hillary, the artist behind Hillsthreads. A bit about me, my mom taught me how to sew at a young age. I would make pillows and little bookbags. I started getting into altering & making clothes in my teen years because clothes never fit; and if something did fit, it was made for grown women. Think of the women’s plus-size section in JC Pennies or Fashion Bug. It was a mess. Anyways, to combat the shortcomings of local clothing stores, I would go to thrift stores and buy fabrics to create something I could actually wear. Once I graduated high school, I got into sewing very heavily. I wanted to be a designer and make clothes as a career. My parents, however, didn’t think it was a good idea and insisted I go to school for something more practical. I focused on school for a bit, majoring in business (snore) and started planning my next moves. I stopped making clothes as much after I moved out of my parent’s, simply because I didn’t have the time or the funds anymore. I started doing embroidery a few years later. I picked it up quickly and fell in love with the process. I perfected my technique over the years and was doing it for fun until 2019 when I was invited to partake in my first art show with RAW Artists. From there, my business really took off. I started taking it more seriously, started investing my time into it more wisely; but still made it a priority to have fun with it. Now I’m at a place where I want my two loves, embroidery and clothing, to collide so people can enjoy my creations on a more widespread yet personalized level.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It hasn’t always been a smooth road. My parents supported the idea of me being an artist, but only as a hobby. My dad still thinks I should go back to school to be an accountant. Another struggle has been that embroidery isn’t always taken seriously as an artistic medium. People think embroidery is something grandmas do on little tea napkins, with flowers and cute phrases like “home sweet home”. The concept of embroidery is even lost on some of my friends. “I don’t get it.” is something I’ve heard a million times along with “Well what do you do with it?” It’s okay if people don’t understand. You display it in your home however you like, the same you would any piece of art. I don’t let it get to me because my weird colorful stitches make me happier than anything else.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m an embroidery artist first, a seamstress second, and a painter third. I stitch embroidery designs onto fabric and display them in hoops or as a tapestry.

I’m known for my sun pieces and the angry banana. The first giant patch I ever made was of a sun and I’ve made a few more since then. It’s sort of become my logo at this point. That or the banana, I haven’t decided yet.

What sets me apart from others is the use of different mediums in my pieces. I always use thread but sometimes I’ll paint on the fabric, do beading, or use a different fabric as a way to color in a space, sort of like an applique.

I’m proud of all my work. Everything I’ve ever made brings me so much joy, it’s hard to pick one thing to talk about.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
Luck hasn’t played any role in my life or my business. I feel I’m where I am because of my dedication to my passions. Everything I have, I’ve worked, cried, and even bled for (my needles are sharp). But sometimes, I do get lucky and I have just the right amount of fabric, or I take a risk and it comes out beautifully.

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1 Comment

  1. vincent Staley

    July 20, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    This great! You have found your way. All the best, uncle Vince

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