Although Julie Cook trained as a jeweller under the distinguished direction of Caroline Broadhead, you could be forgiven for thinking she was a textile artist. Using the material culture of nursing – such as pillow cases, wool blankets, crepe bandages, and cotton sheets – Cook explores the sense of comfort and security that these objects contribute to the process of healing the body. Although this strong relationship to the body can partly be attributed to her early training as a jeweller, Julie’s employment as a nurse by the NHS for the last twenty years has undoubtedly informed the medical nature of her work as a maker and an artist. She received the Craft Council Development Award in 2005/6, which was she says, vital in terms of financing a residency at the Florence Trust and allowing her to focus on her 2006 series of work Duende: A Time for Healing. The series refers to Flamenco song, dance and music from Andalusia – a culture which outwardly displays internal turmoil, collective trauma and pain. Cook’s therapeutic response sought to enable the expression and release of emotions, translating the symbolic ideals of the dance into visual and material form.
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