Hello, I am Julie Williamson and here's my story...

A Shetland born print designer based on the Island Whalsay, I have lived here my whole life. As a child I became very poorly with M.E and spent my 9-15yrs pretty much sofa or bed bound. It was during those years I found being creative a great way of coping with things; I did a lot of drawing, sewing, knitting and reading. My oldest sister, Andrea, was studying art and knitwear during that time and I was always watching her progress.

I slowly started recovering at about 16yrs and with further help with Reverse Therapy I am able to live a 90% normal life, but I do still get the odd bad day. At 17yrs I went to Shetland College to get some school qualifications and a degree in contemporary textiles, from then I went south for 2 years to Galashiels Heriot-Watt University and came away with an BA Honours degree in Textile Design. It was during those years, living away from Shetland and being homesick, that I found I could cope by drawing memories of home, the designs 'Aff At Da Eela' and 'Shetland Starling’ all came to light during those years. It was also then that shaped my style of drawing and story telling through print illustration.
While I have been contemplating and writing this I have only just started to realise (2021) 'why' I create and make what I do. Over the years I can now see a pattern with my designs appearing to me when I am under stress or going through life changes, I tend to look back at nostalgic memories and recreate happy times through illustrated designs. The 'Granny's Collection' was created when I had my first child, and 'Da Banks' collection was created during 2020 Covid lock down, both quite large life changing experiences. 

When a certain memory comes to me and I think it would make a nice design, I obsessively think about it and have to draw it to release it from my head. Sometimes I have loads of random individual drawings from memories which I then have to create into a scene that is relatable and can tell the memories’ story. I love listening to other people telling me what memories and stories my designs evoke within themselves.

When thinking back to 10yr old me, crying myself to sleep some nights and thinking that my life was destined to be lived lying feeling poorly on a sofa to being able to move away, survive on my own and get a degree, I can now look back an realise what big achievements that was and how far I have come.

This year (2021) marks 10years on since graduation, I moved back to shetland set up business and dragged my partner up here too and created a family with two young lasses. Family is important to me, I am also a Guardian and staff coordinator for Gillian, my special needs sister. I also love animals and have had many over the years, I currently spend time with our fury friends Doogle the Poochon, Donny the Shetland Pony, Treacle the cat, A gecko, tank of tropical fish, and a flock of chickens and 2 old ducks. Doogle and the others often appear in my Instagram stories showing you a little of my world.

As to the future, I finally have plans for my own studio and lots more so watch this space!

Thank you for all your support, every sale gives me a happy dance!
'Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation'
2020 Shetland Arts & Crafts Bonhoga

Exhibitions & Shows

2021 - Shetland Arts & Crafts Summer Fair Bonhoga

2021 - HandMade In Britain Virtual fair

2020 - Shetland Arts & Crafts Bonhoga

2018 - ShetlandMade Bonhoga

2017 - HandMade Edinburgh

2014 - CRAFT London

2013 - Parallax Art Fair

2011 - Dovecot Gallery Edinburgh

2011 - Graduated from Heriot-Watt School of Textiles Galashiels with a BA Honours Degree in Design for Textiles

2009 - Graduated from the Shetland College with a Degree in Contemporary Textiles