exclusive interview with UK Fabric Designer, Julia Brendel
The world inspires Julia Brendel. It’s evident in her art, her textiles, her patterns, and it is what she loves. Well-travelled and keenly interested in every country and culture she visits, Brendel is able to take the beauty of everything and every place, and imbue her art with it. Whether it is interior design, silk painting, mosaics, or anything else she puts her hand to, the evidence of a life well lived is there, bubbling beneath the beautiful shapes and tantalising textures.
by Lisamarie Lamb
What inspires your art?
My current collection of textiles is inspired by folk designs from different geographical destinations around the world. I was particularly interested in native costumes from Eastern Europe with Poland (my homeland) as a starting point, followed by Hungary (my father’s country), and others. I always love travelling and many patterns came from what I remembered from my journeys to places in Africa, The Middle East or Asia; but also from literature, architecture, the heritage of folk art and everyday objects often made in a very intricate and decorative way. I have a very soft spot for anything old. I always loved antique or vintage shops, which are emporiums of unexpected treasures. Generally, inspiration can come from anything and I tend to have new ideas almost daily but I can’t realise them all at once. I am a big fan of marrying the old with the new and I would say ‘eclectic’ is my preferred style.
What is your favourite piece so far?
It has to be the ‘Flame’ cushion. This opulent and striking design is made of silk and velvet on English looms. The pattern was inspired by Polish cutouts and is filled with rich colours and beautiful Jacquard weaves. I love its big scale and luxurious feel, and the contrast of bright colours against a darker background.
Is there any kind of material you don’t like working with?
Leather. I am a vegan and although I understand that people want to work with natural materials and view them as more luxurious or healthy, I think that at our stage of civilisation, we can easily survive without exploiting and harming other species. I also have a problem when clients insist on feather cushions, for the very same reason.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future is to design more with a particular cause in mind. I have an idea for a new collection that is dedicated to a particular problem in our current society and I would like to show my concerns through my work. I am a huge admirer of Vivienne Westwood and I think every designer/artist should show a part of their own ‘philosophy’ or express their own views/opinions through their work. I have that need in me at the moment, so I am working on my new collection which will be quite different from the ‘Origins’ collection. I also like to work on different projects connecting interiors and fashion, meeting people from related professions, artists, photographers etc. I think we can learn a lot from one another. I find the enthusiasm of passionate people infectious and stimulating.
How has your work changed over time?
My work changes constantly as my interests drift in different directions. I think I change all the time; in the last two years, I became vegetarian and then vegan. I am more sensitive to what is happening around me and globally; I ask many questions about how we live and why and what future we are building for our children socially, environmentally and economically. I think if I am changing, my work will be naturally changing as well. I view it as progress and as my own personal development.
Where can we see your work?
My work can be viewed and purchased online at www.juliabrendel.com. I also sell through certain interior design boutiques and shops in London and around the country. The full list of stockists can be viewed on the website. I am also always happy for people to come and visit my studio here in Tunstall, Kent (by appointment only).
How can our readers get in touch with you?
The easiest way would be via email@example.com or by phone on 01795 599840.