Julia Galloway’s work is as functional as it is beautiful. To Julia, beauty is as valid as function, and she delights in making pottery that is joyous to use and decorates our living spaces with character and elegance. Most notable about Galloway’s recent work is the cobalt and luster decoration featuring birds, floral patterns, and organic decoration influenced by the watercolor paintings of “The Birds of North America” by John James Audubon. Her work is wheel thrown and altered, created mostly in porcelain and fired in a oxidizing soda kiln.
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Julia Galloway at MudFire
Julia Galloway Artist Bio
Julia Galloway is a utilitarian potter and professor. She was raised in Boston, Massachusetts and still considers herself a damn Yankee. Julia began making pottery in high school inspired by a peaceful classroom pottery studio, an innate hand eye skill, a love of beautiful objects, and support from a dedicated professor, Mr. Ed Lane. She bought her first pottery wheel with her babysitting money and threw pots in her bedroom until she went to college.
Currently Julia lives in Missoula Montana. She teaches ceramics and is the Director of the School of Art. Julia's studio is in a radically rebuilt garage she lives in an sweet little house that she shares with an old German Sheppard, Layla. Julia also has interest in urban gardening, the study of John James Audubon watercolors, the world history of pottery and a love of words she inherited from her mother. Having made utilitarian pottery for the past 25 year, she has now come to understand the world through the making of objects and value labor, the love of community and objects of beauty.
Julia Galloway Artist Statement
Since pottery weaves into our daily lives through use and decorates our living spaces with character and elegance, I create pottery that is joyous. Teapots to celebrate drinking tea with friends; a pitcher decorates a mantel even when it's empty; a mug with texture inside the handle gives our fingers a place to play. Cream and sugar sets have their own inherent dialogue, reminiscent of close conversations that take place during their ritual use. Pottery is a reflection of our reality, our fantasy and ourselves.
In my most recent work, I observe and create internal and external landscapes on the surfaces of the pottery. I am interested in the contrasting elements of the cityscape I see from my urban studio window and the abundant rich landscapes of my imagination. Through both my real and imagined windows, the light travels from morning to evening across domestic and urban scenes, personal and public. There may be nothing finer than the idea of drinking from our surroundings, gather nourishment from where we live.
In these landscapes are all the birds of North America, originally documented by John James Audubon in his watercolors. I find these watercolors very beautiful and nostalgic. By drawing them on my pottery I look at them closely, again and again. This is homage to the great beauty of these watercolors and to the birds themselves. These pots are creating flocks in my kitchen cupboards, clusters on shelves in my living room and stacked by the sink. In addition, this is a salute to the great authors of Magical Realism; if we drink from these cups, perhaps we can sing like these birds.
A formal Gallery exhibition is a brief but important time for a piece of pottery. It is a time of transition and helps the viewer/user understand the work initially. It is through the act of "show" that the public first comes to see and understand the work. These flash points of exchanges give me the opportunity to educate the public all the ramification and ideas embedded in utilitarian pottery. Specific displays of pottery can bridge the viewer with the content in work. Displaying square tumblers on library-type shelves supports the ideas of all kinds of nourishment: intellectual, visual, and physical.
I make pottery out of porcelain clay. It is extremely sensitive and responsive to the human touch when it's soft; when fired it becomes dense and strong. It is this responsive nature of clay that continues to interest me. It responds to your touch, then you respond to it. The same happens in the firing process with glaze materials and the atmosphere of the kiln. Clay is a supportive and demanding medium for the creative journey of making.
I am insistent about making things with my hands. A need for beautiful domestic objects and an instinctual drive to create things are tremendous dance partners for idea and desire. Utilitarian pottery supports and represents our intimate rituals of nourishment and celebration.