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Julia Whitney Brown graduated with a BFA in Fine Art in 2011 from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and completed a post-bachelorette in 2012 from Penn State University.

Julia's work is influenced by her experiences growing up in a strict independent baptist community where she was forbidden to listen to any contemporary music with a drum beat, where her dress and appearance as a female where strictly monitored (only skirts and dresses), and where a literal interpretation of the Bible based on the views of those in power dominated the spiritual and cultural narrative. Based on her upbringing, her work experienced an explosion of divergence when she started making meaningful contact with others from different backgrounds. From here she made it a point to gain as many outside perspectives on  'how to live' as possible. From these experiences, she learned art may not only be an avenue for healing, but also a tool for solving and acknowledging difficult problems. Art therefore, became the medium for which she could build a bridge between herself and 'the world.'

Julia has worked as a studio assistant at Peters Valley Craft Center in New Jersey, for Susan Bostwick in Illinois, and for Black Mountain College potter Karen Karnes in upstate Vermont.

Professionally, she has participated in several artist residency programs including Chautauqua in New York, and Vermont Studio Center.  In 2015 she moved to Nashville, TN and worked as Studio Manager for MidSouth Ceramics and The Clay Lady's Campus. While there she created and curated an invitational exhibition titled, “The Clay Way,” which included over 60 professional artists from over 20 states. She is a member of the artist collective InFlux Nashville, who hold nationally award-winning exhibitions highlighting the cities contemporary ceramic artists.

 In 2016, she founded Old School Farm Pottery (OSFP), an arts program in the nonprofit Old School Farm whose mission is to meaningfully employ adults with intellectual disability. 

 

In January of 2019 Julia, her husband Ben, and her pup Jebi moved to Kalamazoo, MI to start Tiny Giant Farm, an urban market garden farm  where their motto is to "Farm Better, Not Bigger."

Julia continues to make functional and sculptural works found at the Kalamazoo Farmers Makert, and The Copper Fox Gallery

Statement

 

 My practice attempts to deepen meaningful connections between people, their environment, and their perceptions. As a practitioner of creativity, my work has many directions. It takes the form of social projects, craft pottery, and at times as an opportunity to engage in personal expression/voice.

As social projects, my work with Old School Farm Pottery and Communion, are intended to be experienced in a community, as a social experience, and conversation. My intention is to enact lasting positive social change and engagement through collaborations with individuals, communities, and institutions. These social projects are not always concrete- as people walk away with an experience, a full belly, or a relationship rather than an object. The main goal in my social projects is to create sustainable knowledge, ways of working, and systems for others to thrive in their daily lives.

Through my craft pottery practice I hope to present the values of modesty and active listening through the design and creation of objects intended to be the frame for something larger than itself; ie. the ritual of eating. The hope of my simple and classic designs are to not only showcase our most important commodity, food: but to also slow down the moment as someone notices how a glaze glows softly in the sunlight, or a specific mark elevates their experience. All ware is always microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe.

In between the spaces of my practice as a studio potter and social collaborator, I engage with clay as a journal to my personal experiences and emotions via play and mark making.

These poetic pieces act as a symbol to my perceptions and experiences. They sit between my more intentional works- similiar to rests within a musical composition or a play of language where traditional logical throught is not paramount.

This process of moving between collaborative spaces, historical craft,  and personal expression allows me freedom to learn in ways most impactful to my whole person. Therefore, success within my practice is a continual cycle of learning about others, the world, and how my perceptions of these experiences translate into meaningful recordable actions.

 

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For all inquiries please email Julia at: juliawhitney.ceramics@gmail.com

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