Shapes, patterns and textures found in nature inspire Julia’s jewellery; the soft forms of weather-worn pebbles, the repeated structure of moss and lichen growth, clusters of barnacles attached to rocks along the shore. She uses combinations of silver and copper with added textile details to create wearable jewellery which echoes these forms.
The contrast between the textures of metal and fibres enables Julia to explore the qualities of each material and she enjoys the very different processes involved in making each element. Using copper gives her the chance to explore colour, she utilises the changes that copper goes through when heated up and exposed to the air. It naturally takes on deep reds, soft peach and rich rusty tones which compliments the silver she uses as the main metal.
Julia uses silver because of the sculptural structure it gives, but prefers to create a brushed, matt surface rather than the familiar shiny silver that many jewelers use. Silver allows her to work in 3 dimensions, exploring sculptural ideas but within a familiar context which makes her work accessible as well as wearable. She loves the tiny scale that jewellery permits, it challenges her because she enjoys very fiddly techniques and finds it really satisfying when the outcome is a success.
Julia’s latest work explores simple hollow forms, which have rounded, matt surfaces reminiscent of rocks. They are hollowed out to incorporate spaces to hold crochet and hand stitched structures which peep through tiny speckled holes drilled into the surface of the silver to create tiny focal points. Flashes of knotted green thread reflect clusters of moss which inspired these pieces, and appear to grow out of the silver pod. These have been developed into pendants and very small stud earrings, from a distance they look like simple silver accessories, but when you look closely the flecks of green give them an unexpected focus.
Julia trained at Edinburgh College of Art, specialising in very large scale sculptural ceramics, enjoying the expressive qualities inherent in clay as a building material and the very physical act of making. However she has always enjoyed working in a wide range of mixed media and finds that using different materials and making processes gives her greater freedom of expression. She now prefers the intimacy and precision involved in working on a small scale and the more personal nature of the relationship a wearer has with jewellery. It is important to Julia that all her pieces are clearly hand-made, she likes the absence of symmetry and purposely does not mass produce items, preferring to make each piece by hand to ensure each one is unique.