“Nature and Human Nature in Parallel: Challenging the Notion of Imperfection”
Julia Smith is a ceramic artist based in both the Medway Towns and London. She has always felt the need to express herself creatively, and having experienced a difficult childhood, resulting in periods of depression throughout her life, and the conditioned behaviour and negative self-perception of a Perfectionist, Julia’s concern with issues of mental health and wellbeing is incorporated into her ceramic practice, which looks to challenge the notion of imperfection.
Julia sees her ceramic practice as a mutual conversation between herself and the clay; connecting and engaging in a tacit communication with this formless material, using creative expression as a therapy. Her work communicates her interest in juxtapositions and metaphor; of form and material personalities, whether harmonious or discordant. Her experimentations seek to allow a happenstance of ‘group dynamics’ by bringing together clays of differing behaviours, various techniques, glazes and inclusions, encouraging change through process. She finds her inspiration in nature’s architecture and formations; interruptions within the landscape, such as rock strata and fault-lines, and seeks to communicate parallels between these identities of nature with the human condition; physical, emotional or mental ‘scars' from life experiences. Often regarded as imperfections, they are records of material history, to be embraced as uniqueness. Julia’s degree show work consists of an iterative series of vase forms, which display a visual duality, and carry a bio-mimical aesthetic, reproduced in the technique of Agate, and Nerikomi (Japanese marbling), serving as representations of the hidden layers and contrasting elements of nature and human identities – the unseen, revealed.