In today’s hot seat Jules from Frayed at the edges
Please can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and what drew you to your chosen craft?
My name is Jules and I’m born & bred in Glasgow, Scotland (with 10 years in the Midlands). I’ve always enjoyed deconstructing and constructing “things” so was immediately drawn to needlework. I love the process of chosing the right material, stitches and threads then losing myself for hours on a piece.
I’m self taught however I did watch my mum & had Home Economic lessons at school which included some embroidery. I really started around the mid 1990s when I picked up a cross stitch kit and since then I’ve kept experimenting. I’m pleased knitting is making a come back in primary schools and would relish the chance to create a piece of public art in a school inconjunction with the pupils.
· Who are you most inspired by and why?
This comes from my enjoyment of people watching. I’m not one for clothes shopping but during my commute to work I like seeing the different colour and texture combinations people wear.
When it comes to other textile designers I love looking at the work of the Glasgow Girls who created amazing pieces of work in all forms of craft around 1900. There are so many wonderful textile artists working in Britain right now but I have a real soft spot for Karen Ruane’s work. Her work is mainly in white and she references women in most of it; it also helps that she’s a lovely person who is willing to share techniques. Here’s a link to her blog: http://karenannruane.typepad.com/karen_ruane/
· Where do you seek inspiration from?
Hmmm, I really love architecture and that inspires me. Looking at how people individualise their homes, the work of stonemasons and even the designs street paving can make intrigue me. Getting out to the Scottish countryside helps as well. We have beautiful light and which makes for interesting shapes, colours and textures, even on a dull day.
· What are you focused on right now?
Right now I’m leading a group of stitchers on a panel for the Great Scottish Tapestry. It’s really a huge piece of embroidery, over 150 panels of approx 1m square. My group is doing Dumbarton Rock when the Vikings invaded and we take fortnightly turns to stitch. The 1m square panel we’re working on had the outlines drawn on it and we can use whichever embroidery techniques we want to bring it alive which is fun. All the panels will start to come together in March 2013 and will be hung in the Scottish Parliament in August before touring. Really excited to be part of history which will live on long after I’m toddled off this mortal coil.
I’m also getting a portfolio of my work together so I can show examples of my work more easily and I have plans for a solo exhibition called Fragments of Women. Still to work out when and where this will be shown. If there are any gallery owners reading who would like a textile exhibition reading…
· What’s the one actual or technical tool you couldn’t work without?
Can I have two pretty please? These would be needle and thread. I feel a bit lost without them (does any crafter just watch tv or like me always have your hands moving?) and use them to do everything from create art to mending a moth eaten jumper. I can often be found with needles on my cuffs and am really surprised I don’t set of security alarms with them.
· What’s your go to pattern that you love to make?
I have a swirly tree design I created that I enjoy making. It flows organically and although I often make it in backstitch it looks good in most stitches. I’ve doodled it, stitched it on to a denim skirt and even hidden it behind other work.
· Have you got any technique phobias?
Yes…satin stitch!!! Don’t think there’s any coincidence that it could also be satin as in the devil, haha. I’m getting better at it but if I can get away without using it I will. If anyone knows a cheats way of getting perfect results feel free to share them with me.
· Is there a craft/art medium you haven’t tired but want too? And why?
Ooh, so many. I took a year out of selling this year to try to improve my embroidery skills while trying new crafts. I’d love to become better at photography. I could see this combining beautifully with my embroidery as I enjoy embroidering on paper but need to get better at it.
· What does the handmade movement mean to you?
To me the handmade movement is about the understanding of how everything is made, learning from past masters and moving it forward for the next generation. This includes sharing of skills and being a positive influence.
It saddens me when I go to craft fairs where what I can only describe as tat and mass produced is being sold at cheap prices meaning the true crafter in the corner who has priced themselves competitively but still higher than the other tables is being looked over. These fairs should be called markets as that’s what they are. Nothing wrong with having a market however when wrongly labelled they give craft a bad name. Rant over.
· Anything else you would like to share?
Just go for it. As with anything the only way to get better is to try it and have fun with it. Sometimes you have to try a few differnt crafts before you find the one you love but it’s out there waiting for you so have a go. There are so many on-line resources and lots of local groups to try things at and most crafters who blog (that’s us Danielle) are more than happy to answer questions or put you in touch with someone who can help you.
If you’d like to see more of my work then please feel free to have a look at my blog http://craftyfrayededges.wordpress.com/ which has links to my twitter and facebook pages. For more poor quality photos feel free to look at my Flickr page too.
Jule’s answers are un edited by me, so all thoughts and opinion’s are of her own! please don’t use her pictures without contacting her for permission first!.
If you would like to take part in “interview with a crafter” please contact me with your answers to the above questions and photos you would like to share with us.