By Patricia Belyea
SEATTLE WA Arriving at Julie Paschkis’ home at the north end of Seattle, a charming gate covered with grape vines greeted me. Everywhere snippets of art played in the sunshine.
Julie, author/illustrator as well as textile designer/quilter, met me in the garden. Entering through the dining room, Julie and I paused in the kitchen for tea, almonds and local strawberries.
There I learned that Julie, at 16, finished her last year of high school studying folk arts and crafts in Norway. After two years at Cornell University, Julie transferred to the School for American Craftsmen at RIT where she focused on textiles and earned a BFA.
Although her naive artwork didn't fit in at school, a wise professor told Julie that her personal style would be her strength. Once on the West Coast, Julie gained a teaching certificate from UW and a way to make a wage. Julie worked a short time as an art teacher until she received her first children's book contract. From that point on, Julie made her livelihood with her artistic talents.
All around was evidence of Julie’s love of creating—hand-painting on a cabinet, a piano and a floor—to name a few of the highly original items filling every room.
On the way to Julia’s upstairs studio in the trees, we walked through the living room and bedroom. A quilt by Sarah Mary Taylor covered the bed with vivid background squares of pink and orange.
On the second floor, light flooded the studio where Julie paints. She only uses a computer to digitally deliver her scanned artwork.
In the last two decades, Julie has written and/or illustrated over 30 children’s books. Her book, Yellow Elephant, inspired Julie’s first fabric collection produced by In The Beginning Fabrics in 2009.
With seven fabric collections to date, each features a whimsically illustrated panel complemented by fabrics with all-over patterns.
Julie also produces greeting cards for Trader Joe’s, Artists To Watch and other greeting card companies.
Just three years ago, Julie took a beginning quilt-making class. This spring she mounted a one-woman quilt show at the Bitters Co. barn in La Conner, Washington. True to form, her quilts tell stories in a folksy graphic style.
Mr. Big, 11' x 18' and made of wool blankets, stole the show as it cascaded down the side of the classic Skagit barn.
Julie’s husband, Northwest artist Joe Max Emminger, returned home just before my visit was over. Joe paints in a small studio in the backyard and a 1000 sf studio at Magnuson Park.
During my short immersion in Julie’s colorful world, she mentioned that painting makes her happiest.
To visit Julie’s website +click here
To buy an archival print of Julie’s paintings +click here