Artist and designer Julie Nelson uses the materiality of clay as a means to explore nature. In a diverse and ever evolving world, the universality of symbols is the starting point to communicate without the barrier of language.
Julie’s interest in the natural world has always been encouraged, growing up on the coast with parents who belie ved in surrounding yourself with books, and creating mini museums as a child, from pebbles and seed pods collected on days out.
Julie studied ceramics in London, specialising in sculpture, and followed her degree developing a range of opaque, minimal lamps. Julie’s collection was included in German lighting designer Ingo Maurer’s Design Yearbook and were selected for an exhibition at MOMA, by architect Winka Dubbledam.
Continuing the theme of her childhood, Julie returned to the sea after years spent in London. “I’m not far from the capital, but with the benefit of a seascape and visible horizon.” She works from a converted stables (behind a grand Georgian crescent) in Brighton. This coastal setting has informed her work and inspired her to create an installation based on the birds that inhabit the city.
The natural world, science, curiosity and collecting are the themes explored through her ceramics.
Random variation is achieved by hand building in stoneware and porcelain with layers of slip and matt glazes that accentuate elemental and microscopic detail within the surface texture.
Her collections, based on biology and botany, look for the visual regularities found across nature and explore pattern and variation, whilst highlighting the connectedness of everything.
Alongside Julie’s exclusive ceramics, she has created an installation which teaches clay skills to members of a refugee community to reflect on ideas of belonging and identity. The artwork called Flock Project is the result of months of collaboration working alongside psychologists and academics at University College London. The work includes birds specially created at workshops hosted at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.