Julia Smith


I grew up in Helensburgh on the West coast and moved to Glasgow when I was 17 to study product design at Glasgow School of Art. When I came across the ceramics department I felt immediately at home and finished my degree in ceramics. In my third year I went on an exchange programme to the University of Toledo in the US and studied ceramics, printmaking and sculpture. I returned to Toledo after graduation for 18 months and helped out in the ceramics department in return for access to a studio and materials.

On my return to Scotland I worked on public and community art projects from a studio at the Glasgow Sculpture Studios. Subsequently I opened the Deepfired Ceramic Studio in Glasgow and ran ceramics classes for schools, community groups and evening classes for adults. I began to develop my studio pottery range and had exhibitions at the House for an Art Lover and the West Kilbride Gallery. In 2010 I moved up north in search of space and peace to carry on making my pots.
I set up a new studio at my home in Ardersier near Inverness and now work on my studio pottery and exhibition pieces full time. In September 2012 I did a residency at the International Ceramics Centre Guldagergaard in Denmark to develop printmaking techniques on clay and fired surfaces.

I make simple illustrative ceramics handmade in earthenware clay using traditional ceramic techniques. Inspirations include mid 20th century scandinavian design, folk art, illustration and nature. My ceramics are about balance; densely fired dark clay with soft light glaze, clean line drawings over a fuzzy glaze and simple shapes with thrown rings adding texture.
I do not attempt to make identical pieces and I find it interesting to watch people at shows choosing between mugs which are similar, it will be a subtle characteristic in the mug that will appeal to them personally.

In contrast to the light glazed studio pottery my larger pots are dark and partially unglazed. I am drawn to simple forms with tactile and printed surfaces. I strive to find a balance between these elements in my pots. I am attracted to worn surfaces which show he passage of time and try to emulate that tactile quality by layering painted and printed slips and sanding them back after a soft bisque. My colours, textures and imagery come from what are generally referred to as ‘bleak’ landscapes which I find wild and enticing.

For more information please see the artists own website Julia Smith

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