September 4, 2015
Happy Thursday, ya’ll! We’re thrilled featuring ceramic jewelry designer, Julie Moon! These pieces are making their way to our Brooklyn Fair in just a week – so your weekend plans are already set, you’re welcome!
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
My business is an extension of my art practice which is something that feels personal…and why, at least for now, I’m using Julie Moon as my company name. (If you want to get specific, my parents loved “The Sound of Music” and Julie Andrews, so I was named after her…we share the same birthday.)
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
When I began art school, (over 15 years ago..,) I was leaving a job in fashion to study fibre and textile art. But, while I was in school I took a few ceramics courses and fell in love with the sensuality and the versatility of working with clay. Eventually, working in this medium had led me to develop this line of jewelry. I’ve always been interested in making different types of objects, whether they are sculptural, decorative, wearable or utilitarian, they have always been focused on surface and decoration.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
Nothing too major. Years ago, I did an outdoor art fair where my display wasn’t secured and so I lost most of my work to the wind! Aside from the disappointment and embarrassment, it turned out to be a positive experience because I realized how important it was for me to pay attention to my presentation, not only in a visually pleasing way, but a practical one. (i.e.; when in doubt, use cinder blocks.)
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
When I first moved to Philadelphia, I was invited by a few fine folks at Anthropologie, to help design a modest grouping of items for the home. Seeing my designs translated in this way was a very cool experience, it was a thrill to see my ideas accessible to such a large audience.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
Stability is the biggest thing I have given up…which in turn, makes me work longer so that I can hopefully bank those hours when I need to. But I have no regrets. I can’t imagine giving up my practice. I’m really lucky to have found something that I love to do. For me, the work itself is often meditative and an opportunity to reflect. It’s therapeutic…even when it drives me crazy.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
I moved to Philadelphia from Toronto four years ago to be involved with The Clay Studio, which is “hands down” one of the strongest ceramic arts center’s in the country. As a result, my life is consumed by the community I am apart of. It’s incredibly inspiring and motivating to be surrounded by so many talented artists from around the country, working within the field.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
After I finished art school in Toronto, I was a Production Assistant for Xenia Taler who at the time, manufactured handmade art tiles. Her process and product line has evolved since, but I learned so much from her and her partner Steven about manufacturing ceramics. The experience of working for her was a revelation to me in terms of the amount of time and effort I could spend on my own work, (especially in regards to the glazing and finishing process.) Seeing how much work went into painting a 4”x4” tile, somehow gave me the permission to spend as much time if not more on my own work.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
I consider myself lucky that my interests in fashion, in making/craft and design all jive with what I’m doing with this line of jewelry. It’s hasn’t been a leap, but a slow evolution from a limited edition number of wearable art pieces, to a streamlined, grouping of selected designs. I love working in the studio and feel grateful that I am able to spend my days working on my own projects. I enjoy working late and getting up late. I can’t tell you how tickled I am that most days, I don’t have to set an alarm!
What are some inspirations for your work?
I tend to reference and filter work I am inspired by in my own work. I look at a lot of 2-dimensional work, usually images or designs with a strong sense of color and bold /graphic (if not,) seemingly flat lines and shapes. I’ve always interested in textiles. ( i.e.: Persian and Moroccan rugs have been my online obsession for the past few years and an amazing go-to for new and exciting color combinations. ) Off the top of my head, in reference to specific artists/ designers, I would have to say I love the textile designs by Sonia Delauney and Nathalie Du Pasquier. I’m also hugely inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s paintings and WWI British war ships painted with the Razzle Dazzle camouflage.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
I’m learning as I go but what I’m becoming more and more aware of by the day, hour, minute etc… is balance. It’s easy to be consumed with deadlines and spending as much time as possible in the studio. The problem with being an entrepreneur is that no one is setting the boundaries for you in terms of what you can and cannot do and how much time you should be working on something. Not having these boundaries can bum me out AND burn me out. It’s important to know how to balance my time with making work, dealing with the administrative responsibilities and also, with finding time to take care of myself and do my best to live a healthy life.
We can’t wait to see these designs in person! Don’t forget, our Brooklyn Fair is taking place September 12+13 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. In the meantime, find Julie Moon online here: