Julie Arkell Home-grown

With skill and panache, Julie Arkell is an eloquent advocate for both thrift and recycling. She celebrates the re-use of every last thread, scrap of wool and odd button to create objects that will amuse and delight for years to come

You'd be hard pressed to find a true haberdasher today. That kind of Aladdin's cave of shop - jam packed with myriad of ephemera that children find so appealing - just doesn' t exist anymore.... If you lose a button today you are more likely to discard the cardigan than invest the time, patience and energy required to find a perfect match. Yet it is precisely this investment of care, attention and affection, so evident in Julie' s work, which strikes a chord and gives meaning to her universe. The sad undercurrent that ripples through her work is a lament and a reminder that these skills that we now find so charming in a gallery space were opnce found in every household.

With her pastel palette Arkell' s work does employ sentiment and nostalgia as ingredients, but her recipe is spiked with some sharper sentiments. The work demonstrates an anxious awareness of the passage of time and displays a kind of nervous dedication to preserving each pretty memory. Her comfort creatures have an uneasy edge: part human, part animal, and above all eccentric and very English. Their individual personalities are imbued with the kind of raw emotion to which only children are privileged. They display the kind of vulnerability that is disguised behind sophistication as soon as self-awareness develops.

from the catalogue Julie Arkell "home" introduction by Polly Leonard, Editor, Sevedge magazine - published by The Gallery, Ruthin Craft Centre, 2004 ISBN 1 900941783