Interview with a Senior: Julianna Palmer

Today we have our first undergrad Senior interview. Julianna is in the midst of her capstone collection. Our Textile Design students learn design fundamentals and techniques in all three disciplines: knit, weave, and print. Hear Julianna discuss her decisions to go into Textile Design and her experiences while here.

 How did you choose Textile Design as a major?

So in high school, I really thought that I was going to go into the science/medical field. My parents are doctors and I have always been interested in biology (I still am!). I was in the medical scholars club, advanced bio, all of that stuff. But I also was always in at least 3 art classes each year. It was always my escape (skipped eating lunch in the cafeteria to paint in the art room & hang out with Ms. Mattioni). I was also pretty good at it. I especially loved tedious meticulous painting, like patterns. Senior year my AP art teacher was like, “Julianna you know you can make a living out of art” and I was like what?! I can turn a hobby into a career?! So she suggested I look into the Textile Design program at PhilaU. The first time I walked into the studio I knew that was it.

Tell us about the colors, landscapes, artists or architecture that inspire your design work.

love mashing up different landscape elements into a print. My favorite is to work from nature (flowers, bugs, plants, animals) and change the scale to make it somewhat unrealistic. I think being able to take things you see every day and altering them to where it doesn’t really make sense anymore is the most joyful part of textile/print design. You can do whatever you want and be as weird as you want and still make it beautiful and have people appreciate it

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from another designer?

I’ve been lucky enough to find my best friends through the program. It is so special to me that I have this amazing support system of women who also love yarn/know the ins and outs of textiles. The best advice they have given me is to not overthink anything. A lot of the time you are working on something for too long and start to second guess everything you’ve done and want to start over (and I am the type of person who WILL start over last minute). Whenever this happened to me in the studio, Morgan, Olivia, Jess, and Emily were always there to be like “Julianna go take a walk and come back to it. Don’t overwork it.” And that honestly has saved me a lot of stress and time. What’s the point of creating art if you are constantly worried about the end product? My most beautiful designs have come from me being loose and just going for it- sometimes I need to check myself. Don’t take yourself too seriously!

What do you have on your knitting machine/loom/sketchbook today?

Today I’m working on warping my loom with monofilament for Capstone. It’s my first time weaving with monofilament so I’m super excited to see what I can create. It’s super frustrating and time-consuming considering it is basically fishing line and I can’t really see the individual yarns but I love that aspect of warping/weaving in general. The tedious meticulous work- it makes you appreciate your fabric so much more at the end.

What would you like to be doing in 5 years?

I honestly am not entirely sure what I want to be doing in 5 years. Right now, my biggest dream is to do print/color design for Vans or print design for this one company called Timorous Beasties- they’re an AMAZING Scottish Textile Design company that does insane crazy wallpaper and other funky textile products. I don’t really have loyalty to home textiles or apparel so I think whatever gives me the most creative freedom I would be happy with. I also would love to work in the industry for a little, figure out what I’m most passionate about, and then pursue that in grad school in Scotland where I studied abroad.

How does your personal aesthetic influence your design work? Do you think it should?

My personal aesthetic definitely influences my work. I would say more home textiles rather than fashion- I usually wear like boring black clothes (which is fitting since my favorite color palette is b&w) but I have like crazy large scale prints all over my house for like bedding, pillows, throw blankets. This is usually the work I like to make! I think that it’s a good thing to have your personality come through your work and have a defined style. However, you should be capable of breaking out of it every once in a while in order to appeal to a larger market. J

What kind of music do you listen to in your headphones?

I would say “Psychedelic Indie Rock” is my favorite genre- it’s seriously a thing! It’s on Spotify! But some of my all-time favorite artists are Anderson.Paak, Tom Misch, FKJ, Still Woozy. Sometimes if I’m really rushing for a deadline and have to get in the zone I listen to A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, 90’s Hip Hop/Rap to get me pumped up, lol.

Follow Julianna on Instagram at @juliannatextiles for more photos of her amazing work!


Meghan Kelly

Meghan Kelly is an assistant professor of Textile Design at Jefferson University, where she teaches Knit Design Studio and Knitting Technology to undergrad and graduate […]

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