24 September 2010

Julie Richey unveils La Corrente

One of the great joys of being a blogger are the connections I make with artists. Julie Richey is my favorite mosaicist working today and I met her through some work I was doing for the fine folks at Mosaic Art Now. Julie's become a pen pal, a Facebook friend, an occasional contributor to K&RD and a regular source of inspiration. Julie and I have never met in person, but one of these days we will. Hopefully, that meeting will take place in a trattoria in Trastevere where we'll dine on carciofi alla Giuda and pretend it's 2000 years ago.

Julie works in three dimensions as often as she works in the mosaicists' more traditional two dimensions and she sent me some photos of her latest piece the other day and I'm in awe of it. The piece is called La Corrente, which means The Current in Italian and it's her tribute to the Gulf of Mexico.

From Julie's statement:
My work utilizes the innate opulence of mosaic materials – 24k gold smalti, marble, semi-precious stones – to embellish sculptural forms in unexpected ways. The discovery of dentalia shells inspired the densly-packed and fragile under skirt.

La Corrente, (The Current in Italian) is about beauty amidst destruction. The sea kelp adorning her gown swirls in the strong gulf currents. Giant Asian Sea Kelp is an invasive species threatening the balance of plant and marine life in the region. While man overtly destroys the gulf with oil, pollution and fertilizer runoff, another destructive force creeps in with the current.
Here's the front of La Corrente.

And here it is from the back.

Dentalia are tusk shells, a common find along the shores of the Gulf, and she hand applied each one with tweezers. Here are some details photos.

And here's the finished piece in Julie's studio.

I'm awed by her ability to take an art form and push it in new directions. Mosaic is art and Julie's work proves that time and again. The sculpture as a whole tells a narrative that's moving enough, but the materials too pitch in to help tell the story. Much like the Gulf itself, underneath the beautiful form churns a gathering storm.

Brava Julie.

You can see the rest of Julie's work on her website and you'll be seeing more of this one. She's entered La Corrente in the 2011Mosaic Arts International and when it gets selected, it'll be on display at the Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin, TX beginning in mid-February, 2011. The photography featured in this post is by Dallas-based Stacy Bratton.

Julie's available for commissioned work (in two or three dimensions though she can probably handle four dimensions) and you can reach her through her website.


  1. I think anyone who can make me look at a tile mosaic and think how soft it looks and how much I want to touch it - they are doing something pretty special.

    Nice post Paul.

  2. Thanks Bob. Julie's studio is in Dallas, you guys are probably neighbors. Her work blows me away.

  3. Hi Paul! That dress is beautiful! Do you have any idea what she uses as adhesive? I was thinking of attempting to make a mosaic tile stocking for a local charity designer holiday stocking auction, but I want to make sure it's not going to fall apart, so I'm curious.

  4. Hey lady! Julie usually uses epoxy on her sculptural pieces like this one. Feel free to drop her a note through her website though, she will tell you anything you want to know. You can track her down on Facebook too.


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