She’s a coalminer’s daughter and, here at Gorgeous Yorkshire, we love the work of York artist and textile designer Julie Dodsworth – we drink from her mugs, we write in her notebooks and we lust after pretty much every single gorgeous piece she creates, from home wares and candles to clothing and accessories.
These are designs that come from the heart. Her style is heritage-inspired, referencing traditional English folk art, but with a contemporary twist that ensures that they are always eye-catching, intriguing and intoxicating – moreish but never sugary. You cannot tire of their deceptively simple patterns and motifs.
Julie has collaborated with iconic British outdoor clothing and accessories brand Barbour on its spring/summer ’14 collection, and the result is the British Waterways collection, a beautiful range that arose from her love of waterways and the retro-chic homeliness of her narrow boat, Calamity Jane. Her prints feature on the linings of Barbour jackets, on scarves and T-shirts, on wellies and bags and more.
She says: “The designs are a celebration of true living English industrial heritage and a reflection of the many things I love. I am lucky to spend time on the water, watching the painted boats go by, the colours of the seasons and the fantastic changing light.”
In fact, the Calamity Jane has played a major role in the creation and development of Julie’s designing and the business that has grown up around it. She and her husband bought the boat in 2007 as a home-from-home as their plant display business grew, meaning more time away from their home city of York. Decorating the Calamity Jane became Julie’s personal project and she taught herself the folk art of canal painting to do so, adopting an 18th century style using primitive methods and painting outdoors. When her daughter suggested the patterns she created would look good on home wares, Julie immediately saw the potential and began to identify potential British manufacturers and collaborators.
“With my artisan work what inspires me most certainly is the folk art of the British waterways and the lovely flora of the canals. Colours and light to take your breath away,” she says. Now her product range has grown to include textiles, candles, ceramics, stationery, art and cards, bath and body products, cake tins, toasters and mats for table and door.
Other collaborations have included Churchill china, Fulton umbrellas and Dartington Crystal, and Julie’s business continues to develop – not bad for a such a young enterprise that was inspired by a home decorating project.
What Julie has managed to achieve is remarkable, the result of talent, hard work, fantastic ideas, an eye for opportunities and the courage to knock on doors and ask. Consider us truly inspired.
Julie’s products are available on her own website www.juliedodsworth.com and at stockists throughout Yorkshire, including at Handpicked Hall in Ripon. The British Waterways collection for Barbour is on www.barbour.com