Julia Symonds

Textile artist and tutor

Julia Symonds is based at her workshop in Norwich, called Textilia. She teaches weaving and spinning to all age groups and is a regular contributor to the annual makers’ event at The Forum.

What is it about your making skill that makes you enjoy it so much?

Being able to paint with colour and texture with my weaving and spinning. To create something unique from fibre to finish is the most satisfying feeling.

What does it mean to you personally and the way you live your life?

I have always had a need to create even as a small child. It gives me a sense of wellbeing and fulfilment. It’s good for my soul!

What has been your greatest making achievement?

Learning to weave and completing my first piece of fabric, using inspiration that is personal to me and my life experience. Learning to spin has been an integral part of my creativity too.

What is your favourite piece of equipment and why?

Both my travel spinning wheel and my smallest knitter’s loom are my favourite pieces of equipment because I can take them when I travel. My loom came with me to Canada in 2017 and my loom and wheel packed into our Motorhome and travelled with me to Cumbria and Scotland last year, where I was lucky enough to spin outdoors by the waterside. Bliss!

What is your favourite making website or blog and why?

I found many inspirational weavers in Cumbria and Scotland last year during my travels and follow them on social media. In particular I follow Laura’s Loom at Farfield Mill, Sedburgh (a truly inspirational building full of talent), Skyeweavers and Maggie Williams at Ellishadder Gallery, Staffin, Skye.

I follow Spinners in the UK on Facebook, and enjoy The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. It’s encouraging to see such individual talent working away quietly at their crafts.

Why do you like being a part of the Festival?

Being part of a movement of people sharing skills and teaching the next generation how to enjoy textiles and the wellbeing it brings with it.

What is your advice to a complete beginner who wants to have a go at your craft?

Come and have some fun with yarn, colour and texture. No rules just play!