Who: Jen Hyland AKA ‘A Piece of Cloth’ & Rachel Hine Textile Treasures
When: Studio open Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm
There is something magical that happens after an encounter with people who have passion, fire and drive. These encounters inject you with energy and spark and help you to see the world in new and interesting ways. Oh! Hello Geelong recently had the pleasure of spending time with two super amazing and inspiring women. Jen Hyland and Rachel Hine were lovely enough to welcome us into their newly opened Fyansford studio where they run A Piece of Cloth and Rachel Hine Textile Treasures.
The space is part studio and part shop, and if all goes to plan, this gorgeous space will also house a cafe and textile/printing/diy + crafty workshops in the near future too – how exciting! Anyhoo, before we begin telling you about the wonderful adventure it was to visit Jen and Rachel, just a little disclaimer: there are so many details about this two-woman operation that are worthy of their own individual posts, so this is really just a taste! Enjoy…we certainly did!
Cloth + textile treasures…
For many people a piece of cloth is, well…just a piece of cloth; right? Well not for us two textile + pattern lovers and definitely not for Jen Hyland , who lives and breathes fabric, this is certainly not the case! A Piece of Cloth is Jen’s textile design and vintage textiles business, which sources and creates and sells fabrics that are not so easy to find, especially here in Australia. Jen’s collection includes original American fabrics dating back to the 1860s (so much history) right up to more recent decades. Jen also has a selection of vintage American quilts; some have been loving repaired while others are as they were when they were wrapped around the shoulders of the last owner!
Whilst American fabrics form the majority of Jen’s collection, she also has some Australian and European pieces as well as fabrics from Africa, India, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam (to list just a few)! Jen has travelled to the US and across the world in search of the best fabrics and most stunning prints to add to her collection, which is beautifully displayed in the Fyansford studio (more of that later, very exciting!).
For Jen, what makes a truly great fabric is a good, strong and interesting print and something that has colour! Jen is also attracted to fabrics that have historical significance. One style of fabric that particularly caught Oh! Hello Geelong’s attention was the American feedsack fabrics. Feedsacks started life as a sack holding basic foodstuffs such as flour and sugar and were later used by women to make dresses and other textile items – so resourceful! These fabrics are soft and pretty and considered collectors’ items! If you’re interested in learning more about the history behind some of these fabrics, Jen has an encyclopaedic knowledge of this field and shares this with others from her studio, on her blog and at public speaking events such as the Australian Quilters Association.
Jen also creates a stunning collection of her own cushions and quilts, all hand quilted and seriously divine. They are available from some fab stores including Ballyhoo and of course at the new studio shop.
Rachel Hine is the endearingly quirky and lovely lady who works out of her little studio nook in the wonderful space of A Piece Of Cloth. Her background is in Tapestry – she has a fine arts degree in tapestry weaving and her studio is littered with gorgeous weaving works in progress, embroidered floor rugs and the sweetest tiny tapestries. Rachel, also a textile lover / collector makes the most adorable little fabric fox friends and jewellery. Her works are beautifully detailed with intricate embroidery a mix of lovely colourful vintage and new fabrics and lot’s of sweet personality. Also a talented illustrator, Rachel has illustrated and designed some beautiful fabrics of her own, she is one busy lady, with two little ones she still manages to make and sell her works at markets such as Moriac Makers and Growers + Bay and Beyond Market as well as online in her Etsy store, Ballyhoo in Geelong and in the studio, of course.
As well as falling completely in love with Jen and Rachel’s collections, Oh! Hello Geelong has developed a slight obsession about the girls’ Fyansford studio. The building is heritage listed and started life in 1876 as a paper mill (the studio itself being the boiler room), later becoming an ice factory and then an explosives factory during the war (pretty awesome!).
What makes this building extra special is that it still has many of its original features including stunning beams and old machinery and the girls have done a great job preserving the historical feel of space through simple and tasteful styling. Oh! Hello Geelong loved Jen’s custom made tables, bentwood chairs, fruit boxes used for displays and her stunning quilts and vintage flags hanging on display giving a warm and cosy log cabin feel. In many ways, a visit to the studio is like taking a step back in time; it’s like our own G-town time machine! For more information about the historical significance of the space check out Jen’s blog.
A bright future…
Oh! Hello Geelong feels very privileged to be one of the first visitors to this little piece of textile heaven. Jen and Rachel have all the ingredients to make this Fyansford studio a destination that locals and non-locals alike will travel far and wide to visit. We are just so glad to see such a special old building placed in the hands of two inspiring and very special ladies! The future looks bright for this old paper mill!
Thank you Jen and Rachel for sharing your time with us x
PS: if you ever get to the studio (which you absolutely must), ask Jen and Rachel about Button Hill (such a cute story!) And if you’re lucky you might even get to sneak a peak at the precious vintage photo albums they discovered on site! They are full to the brim with amazing old photos of Geelong folk and images of how this ole’ town once looked.
Love Laura + Penny