Julie includes writer and illustrator Edward Gorey in her list of inspirations and although
it would be going too far to say her work contains his level of black humour, there are
frequent hints of soft grey and melancholic blue. Of course this merely adds the contrast
necessary to give both her work, and her home, depth and interest – the full glare of a
sunbeam can strain your eyes.
The house is such a true reflection of Julie that it almost come as a shock to find she shares
the space with her husband, Douglas Bevans, an illustrator and Head of Printmaking at Central
Saint Martins. Living with the little people may come naturally to Julie but how does he feel
about it? Happily he claims to share “her passion for making and collecting”.
These days bareness, simplicity, monochromatic colour schemes – reduction in general
– are all too often accepted as visual shorthand for peace and calm. We are quick to
dismiss vibrant, decorative interiors as fussy and stifling. Yet repose can be found in an
English country garden as well as a Japanese courtyard. Julie’s house with its abundant
textures and patterns is the equivalent of a Gertrude Jekyll masterpiece, it greets visitors
with a wonderful sense of creativity and leaves them inspired. •••Beth Smith
‘Julie Arkell Spring Rabbit Workshop’, Sunday 30 March, 11-5. Loop, 41 Cross Street,
London N1 2BB T: 020 7288 1160. Call to book, £110. Papier mââchéé doll made by
Julie will be supplied. Basic knitting skills needed. Julie Arkell, Home, £16 is available
from the Selvedge bookshop.