The Disintegration of Hilarion – a wall hanging

Hilarion-half-detailThere was no doubt about it, most of the people that stopped to talk to me at the Parallax Art Fair last weekend were curious about my slightly unusual wall hanging. Older visitors remembered their grandmothers hooking or progging rag rugs during World War Two and recognised the technique, but were not used to seeing luxurious fabrics in rich colours to make such textiles.

Interestingly, several overseas visitors, particularly from North America, paused to chat explaining about their tradition within folk art for hooked rugs and hooked wall art that is still popular.

For my work it felt quite natural to start using all the painted silk off-cuts I’ve kept over the years. I suppose I could have made sewn, patched pictures, but I was more interested in achieving a deep, tactile surface. And, having said that, most people did ask if they could touch this wall hanging.


More than one visitor enquired whether it could be used as a rug. Technically it could, but I don’t think the silk areas would wear very well as the fabric is quite fine. Of course, if I had made it entirely of wool and cotton it could be a rug. I still use my recycled blanket wool rag rug my late mother prodded (or progged in some regions) for me – 11 years on my kitchen floor and still going strong! But this piece made with velvets, silk taffeta and my painted silk remnants has really been designed to hang on a wall.

Curiously, I have found it very difficult to photograph and for once it really does look better in real life.

‘The Disintegration of Hilarion’ (150 cm x 67 cm) finished. It shows a deliberately damaged, defaced area and gives the appearance of the paint and gilding falling away revealing the panel beneath (actually that is dyed hessian with lines of metallic paint).

For sale at Agnes Ashe.



Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

13 thoughts on “The Disintegration of Hilarion – a wall hanging”

  1. The photo certainly makes it look a whole lot smaller than it actually is.

    Why is it deliberately damaged? Is it a replica?

    And were all those people allowed to touch it?!?

    All looks very good and it looks like you had a very busy day.

    1. You’ve just beaten me to it – a couple of seconds ago I added the link to my post about damaged and defaced saints. I’m being a bit slow today!
      Not everybody, but I was genuinely surprised that people did want to kinda pat it.

  2. I’m not surprised people want to touch it. I felt like it just from the photo. I love the intensity of the colors and the color changes.

    Hooked rugs are all over the place here in PA but usually very utilitarian. This hanging is just – wonderful. And elegant.

    1. Thank you. Yes, I realised from talking to visiting Americans that hooked textiles were popular in your part of the world. Working with silk and velvet is more fiddly than wool, but it adds that extra richness which is what I was looking for to represent the medieval painted panel ‘feel’.

    1. Thank you. I have to admit I am a huge fan of medieval art and did my Art History Master’s main dissertation on the rood screens of East Anglia. It has really stuck with me!

      1. Yes, medieval art is fascinating! I did an AH course two semesters ago, following the Romans to Constantinople, Byzantine art, then the progression of medieval art from there. It will never leave me either. 🙂

  3. HOW did I miss this post- especially since I have been looking forward to seeing your finished piece? What luxurious colours and yes it begs to be touched. Have you hung it in your home? Will you do more?

  4. If you’d asked me ‘will you do more?’ a couple of months ago I would have screamed absolutely not! But strangely I’m just considering doing another for a local competition that’s to be held this summer. Making such pieces takes a fair amount of time and I think I felt under pressure with the exhibition deadline. However, now I know so much more about the process and how to achieve what I want – I think, yes, I will do more. There, I’ve said it. Feel committed now!!!!

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