Julia Harrison considers herself more of an observer than a creative. She can make brilliant connections between seemingly unrelated objects, pointing out how they shadow one another. This is very clear in her small-scale sculptural work that represents organic shapes often found on the body and in nature. She captures the perfect curves of a moth and it mirrors the shape of her décolletage pendants.
An avid traveler, Harrison has lived in Australia, England, and Japan. She obtained a Diploma of Conservation in West Dean College in Chichester. She wanted to work with old objects and the conservation setting gave her access to better wood and tools than she had ever had before. There was often carving involved for replacement parts and over the course of her education she continued to develop her astonishing sculpting skills.
While she works mostly in wood, she also creates objects from metal, glass, stone, and porcelain. Harrison loves working with wood because it has lots of personality. Every piece is different, even from one end of a branch to another, and you have to get to know it. It’s also very portable; she can carve with just an X-acto knife and a small saw. Her process is always subtractive – carving away, making her work smaller and lighter.
Harrison is currently working on a public works project for the Seattle neighborhood of Maple Leaf. The city asked her to apply as the project involved wood from a removed Madrona tree. She will be casting concrete for the project, adding another skillset to her library.