Q&A textile artist Julia Jowett


What is your practice? Materials? Processes?

Delighting in meticulous detail, my illustrative practice explores the importance of storytelling and imagination. I draw with wire, pencil and embroidery, intricately working dense areas of needlepoint stitch over manipulated wire lines. Obsessive repetitions, tiny embroidered marks and rows of traditional cross-stitches are embedded and worked into fine mesh and metal gauze, painting colour with thread. My hand-embroidered tapestries combine and play with wire to form a figurative dialogue. Pensive little pepper pot women lay over subtle backgrounds of hand drawn, screen printed imagery – often framed, always mindful of compositional placement. Drawing on folktales, childhood stories and things of legends, I harness instinctive feelings and traditional craft skills to visually capture the minutiae of a fictional fragment and create considered folkloric narratives that intrigue.


What 5 words best describe your work?

Embroidery. Wire. Print. Story. Wall art


Do you have any design heroes?

My tummy tingles whenever I see Dutch embroiderer Tilleke Shwarz’s beautiful pieces. Her contemporary use of traditional stitch techniques to capture the narrative of her surroundings will always be my favourite. Cy Twombly is my all time painting and mark making hero. I adore French children’s book illustrators like Rebecca Dautremer and Anne Herbauts too – beautiful work.

Where is your studio?

After recently moving out of a shared studio, I’m currently setting up creative camp at the bottom of my Staffordshire garden with the squirrels, in a purpose built wooden workshop space, between my oak tree and my apple tree. It’s going to be magical.

Describe in 10 words a typical day in your studio

Morning adventures, ideas and coffee, tiny stitches, wire twists, making, photographs, scribbles and lists.

Are you working on anything unusual at the moment? Commissions? New work?

A new collection is unfolding – the Tales of Barbara Moon – the story of a little wire lady searching for clear skies and clarity. She wears wire shoes topped with tiny pearls. She’s lovely.

What will you be selling at the Christmas Bazaar? Anything new? Anything christmassy? Perfect Christmas present?

New framed and unframed wall pieces and embroidered stories; gift wrapped individual wire ladies, embroidered birdcages and wire forests; embroidered sieves and new wearable washers of stitch. I’ll have some Christmas cheer too – hand embroidered wire tree decorations and festive garlands.

unnamed-22 unnamed-23

Tell us something we don’t know

I don’t work my embroidery from a pattern. I hand stitch into metal gauzes and cloth, putting tiny cross stitches where I think they need to be. And, I like to pretend that I can shrink to the size of a pepper pot…

‘The woman who was as small as a pepper pot was queen of all the crows in the forest.’



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