Featured Artist, Julia Narain
Mother and Fiber Artist
Owner of Wild Purl Knits
Mt. Prospect, Illinois, USA
I know it sounds cliche, but my primary objective and identity stem from motherhood. That view of myself is interwoven in everything that I do, when I do it and how I do it.
Interview with Julia
Where did your art story begin?
I have always been a “maker”, but my mother taught me how to knit when I was about 9. I was born and raised in South Africa, where knitting is a more prominent pastime. Whenever someone had a baby, my mother would knit the baby jacket, and I would knit the matching booties. Life happened, and I didn’t pick the skill up again until I was expecting my third child. Things seemed to just fall into place, and my love affair was rekindled, at times escalating into obsession. Knitting is a way to ease daily tension, a way to forget about the busyness and complications of life and simply zone in on completion and success of a project. Whatever the current situation, I can always control the outcome while finishing a piece, and feel accomplished.
I create because...
I feel an inert need to. If I’m not planning or working on a project, I feel like my mind is all over the place.
Where does your inspiration comes from and how to your art ideas formulate?
My inspiration comes mostly from color. I get moved by a color I see in nature, something I’ve seen someone wear, or sometimes even the yarn itself.
What is the knitting process like when you are working on a new piece?
Knitting is like sculpting to me. I either use a pattern or work from my own design. But once I begin, the precision of bending and manipulating the fiber, the tension, the pace...is all about molding. Once I’ve finished knitting, the sculpting continues. Completing a piece ends in an elaborate blocking process, where I wet, carefully stretch, pin and dry the piece flat. Blocking is crucial to each piece. It evens out the stitches and really highlights detail of the stitch pattern.
What are some standout points or people in your life that guided you here?
While my interest was initially sparked by my mother, the are a number of fellow knitters, independent dyers and designers who not only inspire me, but encourage me. I’ve become part of a fiber community that truly believes in each other, they have really been a blessing in my life.
Posted October 2020