Julia Raath

Julia Raath_2 “ Identity Mistaken” 2004 Fibre reactive dyes and dextrin resist painted and screenprinted on silk organza, 40cm x 150cm Photo_ Julia Raath
Julia Raath, “There were stars in his eyes” 2004 Fibre reactive dyes and dextrin resist on silk organza, 40cm x 150cm Photo_ Julia Raath

Where I work

I am based in beautiful Brunswick West a vibrant inner northern suburb of Melbourne, Australia. I have converted my garage into a studio space. It is compact but functional and it is where I focus on design, creation and block printing my limited edition scarves and other one off pieces. On sunny days I open the garage to let the sunshine in. My big dog Monty is always by my side.

Outside my studio I can see my vegetable patch. Gardening is an important part of my life. I grow seasonal vegetables and have a passionfruit vine and a large olive tree which blesses our household with delicious olives for olive oil. When I need to do larger projects or production runs I use Sunshine Print Artspace, an access printmaking studio in the western suburbs where I also run textile printing workshops.

What inspired my work

These works were created in response to Australia’s mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers who were arriving by boat and were immediately put into detention centres. The collection is titled “Two sides to every story”. There was the story we were being told but also the stories being carried by people who had made difficult decisions to leave their countries and their families.
The patterns used in the prints reflect some of the traditional motifs and pattern structures that occur in textiles, architecture and ceramics from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan – the places that were being torn apart and the places from which many of the people came, seeking safety.

How I made it

These pieces represent a scarf or a shawl- a piece of cloth we use to keep warm, to shield ourselves from the elements, to protect. Each one is made up of layers of painted, dyed and screen printed images with a crackle resist applied to give the effect of a crazed surface – something fragile but cracked. There are two pieces of silk stitched together. Each side of the scarf has a different image – tells a different story.

What I am working on

I am currently working on a very personal project- I am celebrating friendships, particularly with a group of women who I have known for over 35 years. It is a slow project. I am not hurrying the process. I invited them to respond to some simple questions, to tell our herstories. I will create something special for each of them based on their responses.

I continue to produce block printed scarves and screen printed tea towels for fun and the markets.

About me

I am a textile print designer with extensive experience teaching design in Australia and India. I have participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions, markets and studio sales. I continue to produce printed textiles and run print workshops at Sunshine Print Artspace.

Instagram: @juliaraath

Website: www.juliaraath.com

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