I weave poetic pieces,box framedfor wall display

©Philip King Photography

I always wanted to paint.  I came to weaving later in life. It is now a passion.

My professional background is in arts publishing and exhibitions.  Clients included Laurence King, the Hayward Gallery, the Design Museum, the V&A and Viking Penguin.  My work involved a lot of visual research and curation.  As a result, I have a huge store of imagery in my head – colours, textures, proportions, visions, sensations – which get distilled and feed into my woven pieces.

I have been working on 8- and 16-shaft looms since 2013. Discovering Sheila Hicks’ ‘minimes’ set me free to sketch and paint with yarns. With the work of another favourite artist, Paul Klee, often at the back of my head, I now produce poetic pieces – ‘weavescapes’, as in ‘mindscapes’, ‘soundscapes’, landscapes’- for wall display. Clients are surprised just how 3-dimensional many of them are. They come mounted in beautiful handmade wooden box frames.  As I also love language all my pieces have titles, thus a ‘story’.

As an artist I am exploring the painterly and sculptural qualities of yarns and fibres within the relatively constraining context of a shaft loom. I am pushing these limitations to achieve vivid expression in this unfamiliar medium.  My pieces evolve intuitively and I use yarns and fibres as lines of paint, each with its own colour as well as textural characteristics.  I often leave the materials I use hanging off the sides as I think it is interesting for people to see what they are and how each one ‘behaves’ when unconstrained.

Above all, I am pre-occupied with bringing movement to the rigid angular grid set by the shaft loom, often sacrificing the traditional stability of cloth for maximum expressiveness, giving yarns the space to ‘breathe’, trying to weave pieces of art that feel like objects come to life.



Julia Engelhardt in conversation with Lizzie Collins, founder and director of Zuleika Gallery, Woodstock and London, 2022.


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