Artistic Development

I am a self-trained artist and create out of sheer necessity. The urge to create has been there since I can remember, and continues to serve the purpose of “centering” oneself. The older I get the more I witness this element of art as a coping mechanism and a way to be in this world.  Painting, sculpting, writing are all a way to illuminate what one truly cares about and notices along the way.

Julie Longstreth, Vermont ArtistI try to record what can be saved or salvaged, what creatures, what landforms inspire, and what colors, and light give glee to our natural world. I care about the imprint of humanity on nature, and wonder about historic and prehistoric architecture, who lived there and what were their lives like then?

I write poems while hiking in the woods with dogs, memorizing the words until I can get home to pen and paper.  What I remember goes straight to the page and is lightly edited.  The poems I write are a much deeper reflection of embedded and accumulated observations.

Since sampling the brilliantly colored modelling clay at the FAO Schwartz toy store in NYC as a child, I have been fascinated with clay and sculpting animals, real and imagined.  I rediscovered this joy while attending graduate school for anthropolgy in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Clay is everywhere in the natural environment in this part of the west, and I spent a large part of my time there creating clay sculpture in the ceramic studio.

Back in Vermont the raw materials and subject matter shifted, I tend to create tiles, mugs, and bowls from slabs based on watercolor paintings done on- site or in-studio.  All pieces are handbuilt rather than thrown on a wheel.  I use a transfer process from painting to clay that I developed in order to do the same image repetitively.  Using this process I have designed tile installations for two farmhouse bathrooms.

I also create small pitfired sculptures largely from pinch-pot and slab construction.  Instead of glaze, I overpaint the smudge effect of the pitfire with watercolors. I use handmade stamps in all of my clay work to add texture and dimension.

Recently, I took up felting with wool on a hand-sculpted armature…and I have found the immediacy of this work a perfect match for a busy stay home mom!  I try to weave together my interest in animals, their color and anatomy, with found objects and various artifacts collected along the way.

All of my work is an accumulation of my closeness to and belief in animals and the environment.  It is our job to take care of both.  I hope my work and poetry balance each other, the dark and the light, and inspire others to create too.