Sunday, March 23, 2014

In the Spotlight + Mini Challenge... Julia Stratford-Wright

Hi everyone, my turn to tell you a little more about myself this month. I'm Julia Stratford-Wright – I'm in my mid 50's (that's as close as I'll go!) and I can't believe I'm that age. I'm also determined to forget the age and just enjoy life!

That's me waving to the camera with
my sister-in-law in Cyprus where she lives.
Yes, that's SNOW in the background in April!!

I was a Textiles teacher from 1979 - 2010 when my health had a wobbly so I retired. My husband and I recently moved to the countryside and the air here is much cleaner than south London (where we used to live) so I'm very happy! I feel so lucky to live in a beautiful village surrounded by miles of paths to walk, right on the doorstep. I have a daughter who's nearly 22 and she's going for a degree in Illustration - out into the big wide world soon!

I have loved working with fabric for as long as I can remember and teaching children aged 11-18 was my passion. No two days were ever the same and whilst it wasn't always the easiest job, it truly was rewarding.

I studied art and textiles to degree level and now I'm back playing with paints, inks, fabrics, stamps, rusty objects and anything else that takes my fancy! I still sew from time to time and I have developed a love for making hand knitted socks! It was something I was determined to learn and I often have a pair on the needles just waiting to fill any idle time.

These are some of the socks I've knitted. I've also made them for my daughter and now my husband. It really has become an obsession! Never had a go? Get to a class and learn, it's so much fun.

I started blogging in 2012 so I could enter challenges and I haven't looked back since. I found a whole new world full of talented, caring people and I love it. My style has evolved from paper arts and stamping to a love of mixed media projects. I have three very talented crafty sisters but it was sister Sandie who really opened my eyes to the world of papercraft and stamping. Thank you!! My blog entitled "Julia's Stuff" can be found HERE.

I have been lucky enough to have a year of workshops with the super talented Andy Skinner and the skills I've learned from him have enabled me to take my work in a different direction. For my mixed media pieces, I love to browse in charity shops for objects to alter. I'd like to share a project that I've made especially for this spotlight - hope you like it:

My sister showed me this candle burner in a charity shop.
It looks like stone but is made from plaster.

I gave the piece two coats of gesso followed by a coat of mixed colours from the Americana range by DecoArt. Looks very odd at this stage!

Here's what the piece looked like after lots of work with washes, crackling and general grunging! I just love how you can change something just by using a few products and some clever techniques.

Here's some close up shots for you to see the details - if you need a break from photos, go and get a coffee to keep yourself awake!

I love how the paws have turned out - they have an antique look and even appear to be missing little pieces here and there.

The space to put a small candle or night light.

The eyes with their rusty, aged look making it appear
as if the object has a metal content.

The wings with their crackled edges.

• • • • • • • • •

Mini Challenge:
Use Two Or More Stencils On Your Project

For my mini challenge I'd like you to use two or more stencils on your project to create depth and layers on the surface. You can do this with paint, ink, sprays, texture mediums or a combination of all of those plus anything else you fancy!

Here's what I made for your inspiration:

Tag made using paint, ink, metallic lustre spray, shimmer powder on stamped ink and modeling paste. If you want to know how I made the background CLICK HERE.

Now for some close-ups to show you the details:

Die cut letters, stamped with versamark, brushed with perfect
pearls and coated with Triple Thick Glaze from DecoArt.

If you've managed to get this far then thank you so much for sticking with me. It's over to you now - I'd really love to see how you use those stencils to create depth and layers on your project! ~ Julia 

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Please join us next Sunday for a brand new Challenge.
Have a great week!


  1. How lovely to hear a bit more about you Julia and your love of knitting socks! I love your makeover of the cat too - it is really amazing how all those layers have changed the whole appearance of it. Just stunning! And thank you for a really fabulous mini challenge too - I hope to be able to join in. Jennie x

  2. This is absolutely gorgeous. I must try something like this! I loved reading about your background. Very interesting!

  3. What a fantastic creation ... I love gargoyles, and this is an amazing transformation

  4. You are so talented and such a creative soul! Love learning more.

  5. Wow Julia, your candle holder is fabulous! I love his feet and the crackled edge to his wings. Your tag is beautiful, your background is gorgeous and I love the way you have done the lettering. It was great to learn a bit more about you too - I haven't made socks for years, must get my needles out again! Hugs, Anne x

  6. Maybe you can help me learn how to use my sewing machine that I have never taken out of the package! What a FABULOUS make over you gave that candle holder!! I love it! And that tag is wonderful - all that hardware is so cool :)

  7. What a great blogpost with words and creations nice!

  8. Love your story sweetie and amazing makes to boot. The candle-holder is truly inspired, stunning work as always lovely lady.
    Huge hugs x x x x

  9. What a transformation Julia. Paint is such a wonderful product isn't it? I enjoyed your Spotlight Challenge too!

  10. Fabulous transformation... a truly awesome gargoyle. I enjoyed reading more about you... loved your socks! Great mini-challenge. Cheers, Di

  11. Glad you are happy in your new home Julia. Love this transformed work of art, it is just incredible xxx

  12. Magnificent alteration - paints, mediums and a little touch of "Julia Magic" - those toes and the rusty eyes are the outstanding highlights for me. And a lovely mini-challenge thank you. Given my obsession with stencils and layers, I hope I'll be along to join in soon! So glad to hear life in the country has so many positives.
    Alison xx

  13. That candleholder is amazing! I love the colors, the feet, and the wings.

    Your tag is fabulous too!

  14. Call me silly, but I cannot get over those fantastic socks!! Such talent!! Your remake of the thrift store candle holder is amazing and what a great mini challenge piece as well! Loved learning more about you!!

  15. Julia, love your transformation art.
    ABAC mini challenges are always fun! I love stenciling and created Wall art project with them. Just linked here.

  16. A wonderful transformation Julia, the colours are fabulous, I love it and I love your colourful socks and tag as well.
    xxx Hazel.