“Do you have Instagram?” textile artist Julia Mior asks innocently, as if the answer could be anything but yes. But then, a bit more of an obscure query: “Do you follow any zodiac meme accounts?” (That one’s a no.) She asks, though, because she has the zodiac on the mind; she recently got her birth chart done and was surprised with how correct it was. An analogy that equated her personality to the burning fire underneath a pot of boiling water specifically spoke to her—especially in regards to her artistic process, which begins with a chaotic drawing phase that paves the way to meditative weaving.
“I found out I’m a double sagittarius,” she says, seated on the plush blue couch in her Vancouver living room, which doubles as the studio where she makes her hand-tufted rugs and pillows. “It’s kind of the fire boiling the water, and it makes total sense with literally everything I do. Even drawing these things [that turn into textiles], I could go about them calmly, in a thoughtful way—but instead it’s this warpath where everyone has to be warned that I’m in my little space, shit is flying, we really have to flush through this, torn paper, water’s literally boiling—and then eventually it works out. I can’t help but do it that way; it is super important to me to get through all these ideas.”
Once said ideas are expelled and massaged, Mior comes out the other side with the concept that she will then weave onto a rug or pillow. Her soft, thick, textured pieces follow lines and shapes of the female body, putting in simple strokes the form of a woman both exposed and strong. Fluid without being delicate, the women in Mior’s imagery flip the script on power dynamics and offer a necessary perspective shift. A nude—even a sexual—woman is not to be gawked at, nor is she to feel shame; by way of tactile pieces that are meant to be interacted with, Mior is exploring her own traumas while at the same time normalizing the female body in its most basic, natural, and beautiful form. For every woman overlooked, mistreated, abused, she is creating an un-ignorable presence.
“I love women. We’re the best,” she says with a smile. It makes sense that the woman is her forever muse, explored in rugs that are beautiful enough to be hung on a wall—but that Mior intends for the floor. “Having people come over when I first started making them, they were everywhere and I’d be like, ‘Get on the ground. Roll!’ That was my first thought for interaction: force people to get down in there,” she recalls. “And they were like, ‘What do I do? Do I step on it?’ They were walking around, taking off their shoes, pacing the border of it.” And while some of her clients do hang her works as art pieces, physical interaction is undoubtedly an enhanced part of experiencing Mior’s practise.
However it ends up living in a space, though, a Julia Mior creation speaks to the beauty of passing time; it’s in the very nature of the process. These rugs and pillows require a definite slowing, which is interesting considering their maker is a quick-talking, high-energy millennial. “I need new things to happen every day,” she admits. “I need more stimulation.” It might explain why she is also a hobby motorcycle mechanic and an embroiderer, and why a beautiful afternoon makes her want to “go run around” in the sun. “It’s really hard to be bored,” says Mior. “It’s hard to be bored even with just having the Internet, even with Instagram: forever scrolling. The zodiac meme accounts, I tell ya!”