Jul 302015

Edinburgh based artist, Julia Douglas reveals blood shed behind creating ‘clothes peg dress’ on show at Drum Castle. With thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR.


Highly Sprung by Julia Douglas is very much at home in the new exhibition space at Drum Castle. Pic: Newsline Media Ltd.

Castles have throughout history been places of bloody carnage and battles. Now an artist whose work is on show at a Scottish castle has revealed her own blood shed over creating the installation.

Julia Douglas’ Highly Sprung, a dress made out of 12,500 clothes pegs, is part of an exhibition of contemporary art in a newly created art gallery in Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire.

Creating the installation was a real labour of love for Julia, who spent long days over two months working on the project, the theme of which has become her signature style.

After breaking the pegs to separate the wood from the metal springs, she then linked the springs together to create the shape of the dress. It was an intricate but successful process and remarkably no glue, support or fastenings were needed to keep the dress structure in place.

Julia says:

“It was a very repetitive process, akin to knitting, but also just like housework, a job that you do over and over again. The process made my fingers bleed.”

But the blood shed was worth it as 15 years after its creation and Highly Sprung remains one of Julia’s personal favourites.

“All of my work revolves around the home and relationships we have with objects around the home; how they tell a story about the owners and their life,” she explains.

 “Highly Sprung is very much part of that theme, in fact this was the first one I did and I have continued with that theme ever since.”

Julia feels the homely setting of a country castle provides the ideal backdrop for the ‘Human Presence’ themed exhibition.

Around 20 key works from the permanent collection of Aberdeen Art Gallery have been loaned to the castle while the gallery undergoes a major refurbishment. Other works include Gallowgate Lard by Ken Currie, Restraining Coat 2 by Julie Roberts.

Julia says:

“I am absolutely delighted that Highly Sprung has been hung in this selected exhibition.

“I feel proud to have my work sit alongside prestigious artists like Alison Watt, Ken Currie, Gavin Turk and Julie Roberts, whose works I particularly admire.

“I feel that the domestic interior at Drum Castle, with its fireplaces, wooden panels and skirting boards, is an ideal location for an exhibition exploring human presence and hope that this different setting for the work will attract new viewers as well as inspire regular gallery goers.”

The Edinburgh-based textile and mixed media visual artist plans to take time out from her busy schedule to visit the exhibition at Drum soon.

Julia’s commitments include organising the Society of Scottish Artists’ Annual Exhibition of which she is co-ordinator. She also has plans to move to South West France and set up an artists’ retreat called Studio Faire and as a professional member of Visual Arts Scotland she will be creating new work for their upcoming annual exhibition.

Drum Castle is hosting the specially curated collection of modern art on loan from Aberdeen Art Gallery until March 2017. It is open Thursday-Monday from 11am-4 pm last entry and from October on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-4pm last entry. Situated on the A93, Drum Castle is 10 miles west of Aberdeen.