Meet The Maker - Julia Florence Whiting
There are times in the shop when we open a parcel and are instantly so infused by the energy that lies within, that we are left in no doubt about the power of handmade items and the feeling that gets transferred from person to person through art, creating connections that can't be formed through mass made items. Its a very personal connection, a feeling of creation and wonder, and one that we always get when unpacking the carefully made work of Julia Florence Whiting.
Julia's unique Style and talent is obvious from first glance but it's really from holding and studying each individual piece that you get a sense of how special it really is. We have the pleasure of seeing Julia as she hand delivers her work to us from her studio based in St Agnes Cornwall, where she uses local clay to sculpt and create her pieces, before illustrating each one with her signature strokes and forms - each one a symbol of nature, feminine energy and the strength within that, each piece holds a real feeling of energy in the weight and texture of it, as well as the beauty of the illustration itself.
They are without doubt empowering pieces to own, and to take inspiration and strength from for years and generations to come, and now more than ever the relevance of her work shines through.
Julia herself is a very special character with a laid back and gentle approach to her work, and to life in general, inspired by nature and all that that encompasses its no wonder her work is so well received in the shop and often commented on for its beauty... we caught up with Julia and asked her a few questions about her work...
Hello I’m Julia, I’m an artist currently lucky enough to be living on the North coast of Cornwall. My work celebrates nature, plants and often empowered and confident women. I love the process of creating my ceramics and it makes me so happy to know that they can also bring joy to others as treasured objects in their homes.
On the future of Handmade....
'I think there is an innate worth to a handmade object which people seem to connect to on a deep level, at the moment I’m sensing a growing appreciation for handmade goods and the stories behind them, which is great! It’s so easy to ignore where things come from, whether it be our food, clothes or possessions, and I think by supporting independent makers people are pushing back against this throwaway culture.'
Have you ever collaborated with anyone if so what is your favourite collaboration, if not - who would you like to collaborate with?
Recently for breast cancer awareness month I collaborated with the brand Boobsessential which specialises in essential oils for women to use in their breast checking routine. The aim is to encourage women to do this more often by making it a self loving and enjoyable daily ritual. This brilliant cause and my love for drawing nudes inspired limited edition hand painted plates on which to display Boobsessential products and other precious items. I love collaborating because other artists and brands inspire me, and it always results in something special.
What would you say is your favourite tool to use for your work? Does it have a story?
Honestly my favourite part of making is when I am just using my hands on raw materials, there is nothing like the feeling of clay moving through your fingers on the wheel. My favourite tool is probably a Japanese ink brush which I use for much of my decorating, it is so versatile and creates a lovely line. I’ve had it since school, it came with me to University and still remains a firm favourite. I have memories of hiding out from my other subjects at school in the freezing art building, moodily splashing ink around and listening to The xx. Those ink drawings were to be my first sale as an artist, they paid for me to go to Italy and draw naked people for a month!
How do you achieve a balance between intuition and practicality in your work?
When I’m making, I immerse myself fully in the process and allow myself the freedom to create what comes naturally. I am working on the practicality part, its easy to get carried away with the joy of creating but sometimes you have to reign it in in order to get things done!
The Winter Season can be a time of great inspiration, what do you do when you feel stuck creatively and what tools do you use to reignite your creativity?
Being in nature truly inspires and re-energises me. Living on the North coast there is dramatic and ever changing scenery throughout the year for me to explore. My visits to buy clay lead me to a hidden barn on a stunning clifftop up the road, where the clay gets dug up and sent out to supply potters all over Cornwall. Looking out to sea the view is breathtaking, and restores my energy every time. Following the heat of the Summer which brought wild fires along the clifftop, in the colder months there is a rugged harshness to the landscape and we witness some powerful storms. I find this relationship of submission and resilience between the elements inspiring to my work. Through exposure to water and fire, the clay I work with emerges strengthened and beautiful, the women I paint embodying this strength.
A studio is often where the magic happens, What does your working space look like, and what is it about this space motivates you the most?
I share a workshop with potters and stained glass workers, it’s a nurturing environment of characterful women who keep the tea flowing and encourage each other which creates a warm and safe space.
What do the words No Guts No Glory mean to you? Do you have a personal motto, or a favourite quote?
Its a great quote to live by, if you work hard and take some risks then the feeling of pride when you achieve something is brilliant. I don’t have a personal motto but I think its important to be kind and positive, as this can create a butterfly effect ripple of kindness around you. Hopefully, putting thoughtful and empowering creations into existence is an extension of this positivity.
You will find a selection of Julia's unique work in the shop, we don't often put her work for sale online, but if you would like to enquire about available pieces then please do get in touch with us and we'll be happy to post one to you.
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