Julie Paterson of Cloth

A visiting Creative Face – Julie Paterson

We had a chance to catch up with Julie during her recent visit to Coonamble when she delivered her traveling ‘LookDrawPrint’ workshop. Funded by CASP, the workshop was packed where the lucky participants learnt all about textile design and printing. We had a chat to Julie about her business philosophy, what inspires her creative processes, and how the imperfect can lead to perfection.

Hello, what is your name?

Julie Paterson, aka the woman of Cloth

Your mobile ‘LookDrawPrint’ workshop has been popping up around the state…tell us about that!

I love working with people – getting them revved up to get creative, to participate in making something with confidence and joy. Over the years of having a shop so many people have said to me that they aren’t creative but at the same time yearn to be and I would always correct them. You were born creative I would begin. Its all there you just need to coax it out.

And then I wrote an imperfect manifesto that starts with exactly this sentiment-

Imperfect Manifesto

Then I wrote a book ClothBound  which is about my process and 20 years of business which made me realise what I really wanted to do and could do, which was to get people making stuff by running workshops. And the people I like best are the folk who don’t live in cities. For me regional is where it’s at. I was born in the countryside in the UK and I love nothing more that fossicking in the dirt in my boots and anorak with my trusty dog. So these two things go hand in hand which is why you’ll find me on the road with Caravan Meg on my way to some country town to do my thing.

What do you wish you knew about being a business owner before you got started?

I was so naïve when I started over 20 years ago now. Rubbish with money, and planning and general organisation. I’m a big picture person, eternally optimistic, messy, creative and will jump in feet first to any new project and work it out as I go. I don’t think I would have it any other way mind you. So what do I wish I had known? Not much really, going in blind, being prepared to work bloody hard and loving it for the pleasure of the work itself is fine by me.

What else have you been up to?

Where shall I start…Designing the next range of textiles (which should have been done 6 months ago) mainly is what I should be doing. I’m half way through – give me 2 more months and it’ll be done, promise.

How would you describe your style?

My work style is raw, real, connected to the landscape. Bold energetic contemporary. My personal style is scruffy, relaxed and a bit off beat.

Why do you think it’s important to provide creative outlets and opportunities for people, especially in regional areas?

Because it is a way to foster a strong community and sense of place. Because living regionally can be isolating. The bringing together and sharing aspect of a creative workshop develops a person’s sense of self-worth and also changes the brain to be flexible and plastic which leads to resilience. All of which helps people cope with the stresses and unpredictability of living an isolated life.

What have you got coming up?

More workshops around the country, and I’m half way through a touring exhibition – a retrospective show of my 20 years of Cloth called From Seeds To Bloom that is making its way around regional NSW.  I’ve also got designs to create (as I mentioned previously), a house to finish renovating and a garden to plant out. A website to re-do and stories to write…

What would you be doing if you weren’t the Cloth lady?

I would perhaps be a pottery lady or a story telling lady. I love clay and I love writing as well as painting and printmaking and textiles. But really I knew I was going to do what I do since the age of 17 so it was always a pretty well foregone conclusion.

Where can we see more of your stuff?

I have a showroom in Sydney and Melbourne and a website where you can buy the fabric (www.clothfabric.com) and my own website where you can buy my art, my manifestos and book (www.juliepaterson.com.au)

Lastly, Beatles or the Stones?

Beatles for sure.