As a visual artist Julia OʼConnell uses textiles and other forms in a rich and engaging way to create layers of meaning through surfaces. During her BA course in Surface Decoration at Coventry University, she became interested in mining her familyʼs own textile history and the sharing of making processes. Her video piece Green Shawl involved the un-making of a shawl made by Juliaʼs Grandmother connecting with her forebear through the same green wool.

Julia has used making as a way of gathering of stories and histories. She invited people via her blog to contribute stories and textile artifacts, which she then reinvented. There were some profound responses and the artworks had an abject beauty; particularly Straitjacket.

Julia is responsive to the creative ideas of others; as the Lead Artist on Godivaʼs Coat for Imagineer Production’s Godiva Awakes project, she led a team of five artists across disciplines and creating a coherent design for the six metre long coat, as well as visual impact through collaboration.

Her work responds to place, the everyday and the ignored. Her 3-year residency on the building site at Faculty of Engineering and Computing at Coventry University produced a series of photographs of small but beautiful details uncovered by the construction process. Her textile pieces were imaginative responses and demonstrated her commitment to finding the right approach; trying new techniques and collaborating with technologists.

Anne Forgan