Textile artist Julia Kelly, who also writes under the penname Kelly Lewis (www.kellylewis.net), works and lives on the edge of a canyon near the Four Corners of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona...
Born in Boulder and living in Aspen, she spent most of her childhood in Loveland,Colorado, following her brother around the foothills behind their grandmother’s cabin.
Coming to the West Slope of Colorado to go to Art school in Durango, Julia Kelly met a local boy and the journey began with a puppy, a rundown Victorian shack in need of renovation and motherhood.
Over twenty years later they still live in SW Colorado, but now as caretakers of an old homestead surrounded by hundred year old fruit trees and outbuildings with a menagerie of cows, chickens and a few dogs.
Over the years her connection to the geology and people of the Four Corners has grown exploring the Colorado Plateau and spending many years teaching Art to rural ranch kids and Native Americans at a historic one room schoolhouse...her art room situated in the teacherage, where the teachers lived and legend has it the students trapped one poor lady down in the well for the afternoon. They never tried that with her, but did try and scare her with a snake..it didn't work.
As an Artist…
Everyday scenes have always been an inspiration to Julia Kelly -views of fathers, mothers and children in daily, ordinary life. Using an ordinary medium of fabric and thread more akin to woman's handiwork than fine art is a connection to her mother, grandmother, great grandmothers and the woman before her, for hundreds of years, who have brought beauty to their homes with bits of cloth and thread.
First drawing out ideas, she then create a pattern and raw edge applique the cut out pieces of fabric, held down onto a background with hand embroidery or "couching". Not a new invention, the technique was popular turn of the twentieth century, coming out of the Glasgow School of Arts in Scotland.
Unusual today and in the United States, Julia Kelly's fabric and thread illustrations have been recognized by National Public Radio, appeared in several children's magazines- winning the 2014 Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) merit award and have been juried into shows across Colorado.
Education and Teaching
Recieved BA in Art from Fort Lewis College, Durango Colorado 1990
Taught Art to Navajo, Ute and rural ranch kids, Battle Rock Charter School, McElmo Canyon, Colorado, 2002-2012
National Public Radio Calendar 2010
Buzz Curriculum, Group Publishing 2010
BabyBug Magazine, May/June 2010
LadyBug Magazine, May/June 2013
Spider Magazine, March 2014
Have exhibited @
Art Center, Estes Park Colorado 2007
Art Center, Durango, Colorado 2009, 2015
Dairy Arts Center, Boulder Colorado 2012
Niza Knoll Gallery, Denver Santa Fe Art District 2015
Heart and Core Yoga Studio, Cortez, Colorado 2015
The Heart Path House, Cortez, Colorado 2016