Julie Heaton is an emerging artist who uses thread to make detailed free machine embroidered drawings on dissolvable fabric.
Almost 9 years ago, Julie was widowed through suicide. Whilst struggling with her own grief and caring for two young sons, she started a Creative Arts Degree at Bath Spa University.
At first, it was difficult to find a medium that worked both physically and emotionally. With a love for drawing but inhibited by preconceived ideas, Julie turned to her sewing machine, a much-loved tool from her childhood, and started to make drawings with thread. At first, calico was used as a base to stitch simple line drawings that started at one point and ended in another. Quickly Julie moved onto dissolvable fabrics and started to make more complicated drawings where threads and tensions were changed frequently, often just for a couple of stitches. Mistakes happened and were hard to correct, so decisions had to be made as to which ones might stay and what should be corrected. Throughout the obsessive stitching, there was a strong desire to control and get things right, much the same as in her family life.
After loss, Julie experienced ensuing chaos. Irrational thoughts and fears dominated her life and there was an overwhelming need to control every element to prevent further hurt occurring. Art has a strange way of reflecting Julie’s emotional state and this is apparent in her work. The drawings focus on control and accuracy, but once complete, they are pinned onto foam boards and hosed down with water to remove the dissolvable fabric. The threads are left to find their own place and all sense of control is lost. It is this that intrigues Julie and encourages her to push the boundaries of stitch by making larger and more difficult drawings.
Julie’s latest drawing has proved very challenging and was stitched over a period of three years. ‘A Couple on the Tube’ will be part of ‘Extremely Textiles’ showing at the Black Swan Gallery, in Frome from 30th November.
Guest blog by Julie Heaton