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Craft With Conscience: Judit Just of Jujujust

Craft With Conscience

'Craft With Conscience' began in early 2016 as a weekly Instagram series dedicated to sharing the work of other creatives and as a platform to openly discuss certain aspects of ethical art-making and consuming in the age of the internet and social media.  

This series arose out of my own frustrations related to seeing my work constantly copied stitch-for-stitch, sold without permission, and credited to other people.  Rather than wallowing in unproductive negative emotions, I wanted to find a way to bring this common issue to light in a positive way.  My solution was to share the work of artists, crafters, designers, and makers who I greatly admire for their originality and dedication. Initially, I shared work similar in materials or subject matter to my own, having heard the argument, "There are only so many ways to stitch plants, I'm not copying you..." one too many times.  The truth is, no matter what the medium or subject, every artist from hobby crafter to professional painter has their own perspective and voice. It takes effort to develop one's visual vocabulary and it can be disheartening when your's is taken and misused by other individuals and sometimes larger companies.

All that being said, now is an incredible time for working artists because of the vast resources of the internet including sources of inspiration, the ability to reach a large and global audience, and as a community building tool. As you may know, I love sharing my work on Instagram and following other makers. It's a wonderful way to connect with other artists, be inspired, and feel supported, but we all need to be aware of how we use these resources and what effect it may have on others.

Since the start of 2016, 'Craft With Conscience' has grown and evolved just like any other creative pursuit and has recently expanded to include short interviews with featured artists. I've asked participating artists a series of questions about their studio process, sources of inspiration, and how image-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest influence and affect them. I hope you read on to see what they have to say!

Craft With Conscience: Judit Just of Jujujust

Sarah Benning

Jujujust // Textile Artist // Asheville, NC


Judit Just is a textile artist raised and born in Barcelona, Spain, but she currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she moved in 2013 and where she develops her textile’s brand, known by Jujujust. She studied fashion design, sculpture and textile art, where she specialized in weaving and embroidery. She grew up surrounded by textiles and actually learned weaving craftsmanship through her mom when she was little. She takes some old weaving techniques and gives it a twist using vibrant color combinations and a bunch of beautiful vintage threads.

Check out more of her amazing work on Instagram or her Etsy Shop

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1. I began my #CraftWithConscience series as a way to simultaneously promote the work of other makers and to discuss the complicated issues surrounding creative inspiration and developing one's own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing fixture in many artists' lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional life? In what ways has the internet and/or social media impacted your design process?

I had an unexpected start on Etsy and Instagram. I wasn’t planning on opening a shop at all. Everything really kicked off back on 2012, while I was concluding my textile arts final project, I started selling some of my creations, weaving assignments or some more creative homework and trying to sell them on my website. I needed to do it urgently because at the same time I was planning on moving to the United States. Some clients started asking me for variations of the tapestries available online, and I begin to get more requests and customized orders. After a little bit of time, a bunch of hard work, all together with the creation of my Instagram account, everything suddenly exploded just at the beginning of this “weaving movement” that’s been going on for the last few years. I often think that it worked for me because I was there at the appropriate time and all these elements combined helped me arrive to this point where I found myself now. Without the internet and social media I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing, and more importantly I couldn’t be making a living out of it. Even that sometimes it is really challenging I feel so grateful for these times we get to live in where kind of everything’s possible if you are persistent.

Social media especially helps me a lot to decide what should I be working on, what people like and dislike, the color schemes they want for their homes, what they want to purchase or just see for pleasure, it guides me in such a unique way. People I have never spoken to can ask me for something special and we can work together to create something beautiful and I love it.

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2. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

When I’m working is where I find my most important inspirations, and especially I have found that the more tired I am, the more ideas I get.

As I’m weaving, I usually go crazy jumping on many diverse ideas at the same time like a distracted butterfly. I try to make fast sketches and secure some of the color combinations that suddenly pop on my mind, as fast as possible. Sometimes while I’m on a walk I get some forms, shapes and thoughts. Sometimes I imagine and interpret a song, or a smell or a landscape in a more synesthesic way. Sometimes I dream about certain textures. I’ve always been a little drawn by the concept of synesthesia, a mix of impressions that gets you carried away bringing you to an involuntary secondary sensory pathway. Wassily Kandinsky, the father of abstraction, was a synesthete, always trying to evoke sound through color and shapes and he’s always been a huge inspiration for me.

With my weavings I try to seek the pleasure between the relationship of a tactile versus a visual synesthesia, touching colors, listening to textures, tasting shapes.... perceiving colors represented by certain shapes, and vice versa. But specially, my purpose is to share this experience with everyone else and give them some colorful goosebumps.

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3. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are popular places for artists to share their own work. They also act as public visual archives, often leading to creative work by others that walks the line between ‘inspiration’ and ‘infringement.’ Have you encountered copies of your work online and how does it affect you? What are your strategies for dealing with it?

My best strategy is not be afraid and keep working no matter what. I’ve found that if you really want your business to succeed, it's really important to be unique. Try to offer a very specific kind of product. Do not copy. Study your competition and do the opposite. Be original and believe in your work, no matter what. And try not to get too inspired on someone else’s work. Ultimately, just keep working and creating. Keeping my hands busy is what helps me the most to keep my mind clear and focused.

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4. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?

I’ve learned that it’s important to take a short break from everything once a day. For the first two years, I was trying to get my shop up and running and I was working all the time. All the time. Something that's helped me a lot lately is routine. It's something that I've been struggling with for some time. Since my studio is my home, it's really hard to disconnect. But it's so necessary to focus on something else once in a while. I stretch, dance, go for a walk, lay down in the sun or play the piano to have some little breaks. Getting a dog helped me out a lot, too. I like to keep a consistent daily schedule and try to have my weekends free.

Organization and routine go hand in hand. However, it's important to know your own limits and not to expect more from yourself than what you can realistically accomplish. I try to keep an agenda and schedule my orders there on a weekly basis. This helps with the stress of owning my own business. It's also a good reminder to enjoy my work as much as I can, and to make each piece special and with lots of love.

The last piece of advice I’ll share is about customer service: little details make a big difference. Be sure to reply quickly and follow-up, if you can. Even though it can be overwhelming sometimes, I try to follow up with every order to see if my clients have received their tapestries (and that they like them). I sometimes send process shots, too. Knowing exactly what your clients like, and doing it again and again, will help you grow your business.

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5. Do you have any favorite blogs, artists, or Instagram accounts that you’d like to share?

I do love to find Instagram accounts that compile a bunch of different artists from all kinds of disciplines like, @hifructosemag, @designsponge, but also from the textile arts group like @thefiberstudio, @embroidery@textileoftheday, and I do love to follow your craft with conscience series too to discover new emerging artists.

Other awesome creatives I love to follow and that are truly inspiring: @thebigonthesmall, @rachelbhayes, @suzanna_scott, @kimkeever.art, @iamadampogue, @accidentallywesanderson, @pipnpop, @aude_franjou, @sally_hewett, virgin_honey, ....

As for favorite artists, I would like to mention some old time favorites; Sheila Hicks, for her innovation and astonishing use and blend of technique, color and materials; and Josep Grau-Garriga, because of his breathtaking dimensions and for his combination of techniques from the past and the present, fusing them but always tying them up in a beautiful political way.

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