Above: Julia Deans, photo by Stephen Tilley.
Below: Playing at The Ruby Lounge, Wellington. Photo courtesy of Sunday Star Times.
Check out other Sounds Crafty showcases on Felt:
• Ruth Carr, Minuit
• Flip Grater
• Fleur Jack, The Twitch
• Nathan King
• Hannah Curwood
• The Phoenix Foundation
Best known as the stunning voice of Fur Patrol, Julia Deans is currently building her reputation as a solo artist. She collaborated with Tiki Taane on Past, Present, Future, and last year toured with singer/songwriter and fellow Cantabrian Anika Moa. Now her own much anticipated debut solo album is just around the corner. Fresh from her recent New Zealand tour, Julia reveals her crafty background and shares a few of her favourites on Felt.
Did you make stuff when you were a kid?
All the time. I come from a very arty and creative family; my dad's a sculptor, his father a painter, my mum's mother was a tailoress, and her father was rather handy with the welding iron. I spent a lot of my childhood perched beside Nana and her sewing machine or out in Grandad's shed with the welding mask on, fascinated by the whole process. Dad and Grandpa were always encouraging us to draw, paint, mush lumps of clay into form with our little fists... anything and everything.
What's your earliest or most vivid craft-related memory?
When I was quite little, I was given a toy sewing machine so that I could sit at the table beside Nana and sew with her. I used to love going through her collection of fabrics and buttons and various notions... all so exciting for little magpie-eyed lass. And I haven't lost that fascination, either.
Are you crafty or do you make stuff now, and if so, what do you make?
I used to paint and draw and make almost all of my clothes, but I've become lazy about finding the time to do this over the last bunch of years. I have empty canvases and bundles of fabric that I've had grand designs for, and I still occasionally buy more with all the best intentions of turning into them something wonderful... but I haven't managed to do anything so far. I think an old leaf needs re-turning.
Hot glue gun, needle and thread or hammer and nails?
Everything! All at once!
What's the best handmade thing you've ever been given?
My girlfriend gave me, for Christmas, a tiny little jar which contains parts from a Rolex watch, two tiny diamonds, a piece of a story, some cat hairs, and a raven feather. It's tied on a string and I wear it around my neck.
Have you ever worn something you've made on stage or in public?
Often. I've made costumes for early Fur Patrol videos, and for shows... oh, and we (FP) once played a gig where we had old movies projected onto us, so I made the band white outfits to screen the films on. Ha! I'd forgotten about that.
If your music took physical shape what would it look like? What would it be made of?
I think it would be some kind of chimeric animal shape, made of all the flotsam and jetsam I seem to collect on a daily basis; polaroids, scrawled notes, broken jewellery, insects, plants, scraps of fabric, tiny animal bones, bottles & jars, sketches, ribbons, cat whiskers, foreign coins... and it would be constantly moving, collecting and discarding, changing form.
Why would you buy something handmade?
For its uniqueness, its personality... for the extra bit of love and consideration that goes into something handmade.
What was the last handmade item you bought?
A little woodcut of a tui by Liz Abbot that I found on Stewart Island. I love it and wish I'd bought more!
Are crafty girls/boys hot?
Smokin' hot! Crafty requires patience, forethought, attention to detail and thinking outside the square.
Julia has just released the beautiful video for her first single, A New Dialogue and the album, recorded in Christchurch, Melbourne and Berlin, is soon to follow.