Julie Heaton

3rd Place in the 2019 Hand & Lock Prize, Open Textile Art Category

"The image of a couple on the London tube was chosen for this reason. There was a hidden relationship, an intensity of sadness and unspoken thought."

— Julie Heaton

Free embroidery machinist, Julie Heaton understands the potential of art as therapy. She openly discusses the power and parallels her art has to the trauma that befell her family in 2009. ‘I was widowed through suicide and left on my own to bring up my two young sons. The trauma turned our world upside down. Art became my way of making sense of what had happened’.

Using the free machine she sensitively creates art that is delicate and vulnerable, yet also deeply moving and real.

The interlacing threads are bound up on a supporting fabric and could dissolve into a tangle of nothingness when the support is removed; yet they survive and thrive. Heaton highlights the parallel of this process with the healing of her family.

In her first ever submission for the Hand & Lock Prize, Heaton invited us to share a strange yet intimate moment on the tube. Describing her process she said, ‘the challenge started with their gaze, if I could get that right the drawing could work.

The complex manipulation of thread into art became increasingly difficult with the endeavour to create textures including glass, metal, transparent plastic, ceramic tiles, corduroy, knit, crumpled fabric, and leather’.

Mainstream recognition for textile artists can be hard to come by but the judges of the Hand & Lock Prize saw Heaton’s talent and awarded her the third place spot in the Open Textile Category.

See more of her work here

Close up of embroidery by Julie Heaton
Chairman of Hand and Lock Alastair Macleod presenting the award to Julie Heaton
Julie Heaton talking to visitors at the Prize about her submission
Detail of embroidery by Julie Heaton
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