Introducing Julia Storey
Julia Storey‘s practice is influenced by natural, organic textures, executed with traditional techniques. She finds particular inspiration in beaches, oceans, and aquatic life but also in the varied craft techniques of the jeweller. Her work is layered with many overlapping narratives and influences: such as a particular texture or shape noticed on a walk on the beach, that will show up later in an unexpected way, when sketching or in the process of making.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I think my work has an organic, soft, feel but at the same time a refined structure and an emphasis on construction and craft. Nature is my main inspiration, but I like to incorporate it into my work with subtlety. I love working with precious materials and the idea of making treasured objects.
What made you want to become a jewellery artist?
Before studying gold and silversmithing, I had a vague desire to do something creative and hands on. The scale of jewellery appealed to me. I soon realised I loved learning about all of the different techniques and disciplines, being able to study the work of others and understand a pieces construction, and I found a great, supportive community of fellow jewellers. Jewellery taught me patience, and I love the quiet and focus of working at my bench. Making, creating, working, the slow and steady improvement of skills, the sudden bursts of inspiration – it’s a very important element of my life.
What influences and inspires you?
I am inspired by the act of making, of time spent sitting at the bench, the slow development of skills and experience.
I take a lot of inspiration from the traditional materials of fine jewellery. Gold, diamonds, pearls and sapphires are so beautiful in their own right, I find the challenge of presenting and using them in interesting ways, of enhancing their beauty, very inspirational. I am influenced a lot by nature, I find natural textures or forms often inspire pieces or show up in subtle, unexpected ways in my work.
What is your approach to making new work?
I most often find initial inspiration away from my desk, often when exploring or just relaxing in nature. I’ll have an initial flash of an idea, which I will quickly sketch or write down. These ideas are usually loose and visual, a style or a combination of techniques, or just shapes and forms. I’ll refine and explore them a little more on paper, but a great deal of the development happens at my bench. I like to roughly model elements in silver to refine my ideas – my scrap silver is used over and over again to explore through making. Once I am satisfied with the design and proportions, I will source materials and stones and begin the piece. The work inevitably continues to change, and if I am lucky a finished piece will inspire other forms that explore the same initial idea, forming a collection.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
I love gold in all of it’s varying tones. I’m fascinated by the way small differences in and alloys composition can have such an impact on the warmth, intensity, and hue of the metal. I work with traditional precious metals for their beauty more than for their value.