An interview with artist Julie Vernon

1 May 2019

In this blog, we talk to artist Julie Vernon from Nottingham

Please describe your artwork style

Contemporary mosaics – I work in a mix of materials from glass and ceramic to natural marble, slate and vintage porcelain.  I enjoy working in a freehand, organic style to create a sense of movement in my work.

What’s your background?

My background is in marketing and product development.  This is a second career for me which I established in 2010

How long have you been an artist?

I have always been creative and loved to make, trying lots of different mediums over the years from watercolour painting through to batik. I discovered mosaic 12 years ago and knew instantly that this was the medium I wanted to really explore and master

Who or what are your biggest influence?

I am largely inspired by nature – the colours, textures and forms of the changing landscape

How have you developed your career?

I was talent-spotted in 2010 and selected for a 6-month creative mentoring scheme with 10 other artists – all working in different mediums and at different stages of their career.  This was instrumental in setting up my creative practice and I value the contacts I made during this process, often using as a sounding board for new ideas. I am a member of Design Nation - a leading organisation for contemporary craft and design, which has led to many opportunities to develop and showcase my work.

Where do you create your work? 

I’m very fortunate to have a light and airy studio space in the garden, this allows me to work flexibly which is very important to me

What do you feel is the role of the artist in society? 

One of my key motivations is to get my work out into the public domain so that it can be seen, touched and enjoyed.  I have been involved in a number of public art projects which I believe help make our surroundings inspiring, colourful and happy places to be.  An element of public art brings a uniqueness and personality to our neighbourhoods, encouraging people to get out and explore as well as generating a conversation

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed? 

Definitely execution, the technique and skill demonstrated by the craftsman

What project are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a public art project for a site in Leicestershire.   I’m combining mosaic and metal work to create a 6-foot sculpture of a leaf, inspired by Charnwood Forest, the gateway to the National Forest.

Any current or up-coming exhibitions?

I’m very excited to be showing my work with Design Nation at London Craft Week. ‘The Future of Craft’, Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, London 9 – 12 May.

Where do you find your ideas for your work?

The great outdoors

Is there an artwork you are most proud of? Why? 

I feel really proud of the work I created for David Wilson Homes in Queniborough, Leicestershire – a millstone wheel sculpture and a series of stone boulders lining a pathway running through a new housing development. Although the project took 3 years to get off the ground which was frustrating at times, it took just 6 months in the making. I was given great freedom with the design which was developed through a series of public consultations.  This was an ambitious project and I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone to scale up and combine natural stone with mosaic for the first time.  My largest project to date – it turned out exactly as I had envisaged!

How do you know when a work is finished?

It’s usually quite easy with mosaic – when there are no gaps left on the board!

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

Definitely my tile nippers – I have a couple of different types.  I cut and shape my materials by hand piece by piece to achieve a good fit and flow in the work.

Julie Vernon will be exhibiting at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, London SE1 9PH as part of London Craft Week 9 – 12 May

To see more of Julie's work please see:

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