I weave poetic pieces, box framed for wall display.

©Philip King Photography

I have loved making, touching, looking at textiles all my life and used to design and make quite a lot of my own clothes right until my late 20s. I had a very simple loom I experimented with for a year or so after my parents brought back a small Chimayo weaving from New Mexico when I was 8. I can still picture the piece now, decades later.

My renewed interest in weaving got kick-started by a taster course with weaver and textile designer Margo Selby in London a few years ago. I have been working on an 8-shaft loom since, and a second table loom with 16 shafts was added in 2017. Discovering Sheila Hicks’ wonderful woven ‘minimes’ set me free to sketch and paint with yarn. Essentially self-taught and with the work of another favourite artist, Paul Klee, often at the back of my head, I am producing small evocative woven panels for wall display. I call them ‘weavescapes’, as in ‘mindscapes’, ‘soundscapes’, ‘landscapes’ and sell them mounted in beautiful, handmade wooden box frames.

I take great pleasure in experimentation particularly with colour. And the mathematical and construction aspects of weaving hugely appeal to the logical part of myself. Quite pre-occupied with movement in my pieces, I also enjoy the rhythmic, almost musical nature of themes and patterns, and find weaving to be a highly contemplative activity as it requires tremendous concentration. Some of the more unusual yarns I occasionally use are produced in Japan which has a hugely sophisticated textile culture. I understand that the Japanese do not distinguish between craft and art, and it is this territory my pieces aim to inhabit.


Profile of Julia Engelhardt by Esther Lafferty, first published in The Oxford Times: Oxfordshire Limited Edition magazine May 2018