Julie of tractorgirl and her partner live on a farm, with cereal cropping and sheep and three small children (5, and twins 3), in south-eastern inland Australia. And if that’s not enough to keep you busy, she also sews lovely pillow covers, tea cozies, brooches and makes textured silver necklaces.
From an early age, Julie’s been a maker and a dreamer.
My mum used to work as a dressmaker, and so she would always have scraps of lovely fabric around for me to wrap my dolls in.
At University she studied jewelery and silversmithing, and while she loves it, with small children around, it’s difficult to do, so she’s returned to sewing. While she’s sold things now and then ever since finishing University, she’s always had another job as her main income. Now, however, as a stay-at-home mother – which is definitely a full time job in itself, it’s also one without without an income and she’s becoming much more involved in selling her work.
I have always felt compelled to make something somehow, and it didn’t seem to matter too much what type of medium – drawing, lino, textiles, metal.
My head is repository for all sorts of wonderful things. I like to keep on open mind; inspiration comes from all sorts of things, everything from nature to architecture. I have a Fine Arts background, so I have a large aesthetic resource to draw on – for instance, I am using classic motifs from various time frames and cultures for my current designs.
I care about my work – the process and the finished details. Each item is unique; I use upcycled materials somewhere in all my work, so I can rarely make the same thing twice.
I always try to be gentle on the earth. For me, upcycling refers to fabrics that are remnants from old projects and other sources, and from clothing, homewares and remnants found in op shops (thrift stores). This saves it from going to landfill, and besides, some things are too beautiful to throw out!
Julie’s favorite item is usually the last thing she made – right now it’s a cushion cover featuring a decorative motif from Pompeii, in white velvet and red satin. Her reverse applique on cushion covers is a beautiful combination of rustic and modern.