Today we have a delightful, colour-loving visitor! Make a cup of tea and take yourself a little time to enjoy this conversation with wonderful South Australian glass artist and lovely person, Julie Frahm – aka. Aussie Jules.
1 What lights you up about creating with glass?
- Glass is such an amazing and mesmerizing material to work with, and it can be used in so many different ways (blown, slumped, fused, flame-work, cold-work, etc).
- It’s also a very calming process. You can’t make anything with glass if you are in a hurry, so the material forces you to slow down and take your time to make something.
- I think the endless variety of things I can make with glass is also exciting, and I love seeing what other glass artists are creating as it’s always very different to my work.
2 How did you come to start using recycled glass, and why do you continue to use it?
- The recycled glass idea started in 2009. I had just had my first child, and I was scheduled to do a SALA (South Australian Living Artists festival) exhibition at Lustre Galleries. It was at a time when the big financial crisis was hitting the world, and I honestly wondered where it was all going, and what kind of world my daughter was being born into!
- I started thinking about Green Depression Glass, the glass that was made in the 1930s at the time of the last Great Depression. It was created to stimulate the economy and I started thinking that maybe if I made some beads from Green Depression Glass maybe that would stimulate the economy too!
- Well, it may not have quite achieved that, but it was a great exhibition, it got a lot of great feedback, and it was a finalist in the SALA awards for that year. The feedback was so positive that I couldn’t help but play with the idea some more, and I haven’t stopped 7 years later!
- Recycled glass is so challenging to work with, it has so many limitations. And this is great, because it challenges me creatively because of that. I’m very limited by what I can do with the glass, by how I can embellish it. So I play with limited decoration, and use shape and textures to get different effects.
3 How do you feel when you see someone wearing a piece you’ve made, or when they come back to buy more for themselves or gifts?
Honestly, this is the best!
- I love it when people come back to purchase gifts for their friends. I have made many special birthday presents for people!
- The other day when I was working at T’Arts (the textile and art collective in Gays Arcade), a lady came in and she was wearing a pair of my earrings. She didn’t know I had made them, and I said to her “Oh, I love your earrings!” She was so thrilled, she told me the story of how her daughter had bought them for her from a little shop, and they had been made from a Skyy Vodka bottle. I could tell she was really happy with them. When I told her I had made them, she was really thrilled to have a chat, and to tell me how much she loved them and the colour. It was a really lovely moment in
- Another occasion I was working at T’Arts, and a lady was looking for a special present for a friend. She also didn’t know who I was, but when she got to my work she said “Oh, I have bought so many pieces from this artist, just stunning work.” It was so nice to hear, and when I told her I was the artist, she said “… well keep doing what you are doing, because it’s fantastic.” But it was not right for the present she had to get that day!
4 Tell us about your proudest achievement in your whole life (I know, it’s not actually a question)
- Proudest achievement? Well, my proudest personal achievements are having 2 really great kids. Ciara is 7 now, and she?s just lovely! And Finn is nearly 4 and he?s a real livewire. Two very different kids!
- I’ve had several proud artistic moments too. I was a finalist in the SALA Jam Factory awards in 2009. I was a finalist in the 2013 Toowoomba Contemporary Wearables exhibition. I have had work selected for Flame On at Kirra Galleries, which features the best flame-workers in Australia! I have had work selected for Canberra Glassworks.
- I’m also proud that I haven’t given up. Being a full-time artist (and a full-time mum) is not easy, and at times it would have been a financially better decision to get a real (sic) job! But, I really value the flexibility in the work I do, and my husband is very supportive, and for some reason my work keeps selling so I keep making and trying new things!
5 at 5 (when I get slightly cheaty and rapid fire some short questions!) What’s your favourite of the following categories, and why:
- place you’ve been? … Oh, this is so hard, because I have been to lots of places! I travelled a lot when I was younger. I lived in the UK and the US, and saw a lot of both countries and surrounds. But, last year we bought a house, and we had the best ever holiday AT HOME! Seriously, it was the best. (Having said that I am looking forward to a trip to Melbourne in the next school holidays)!
- colour? … easy, it’s red. Red makes me feel happy. I love it. I did an exhibition in 2012 which was called “10,000 red glass beads” and it is still my most favourite exhibition.
- book? … I listened to “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagiharaon audiobook this year (I listen to books while I am making beads). And I have to say I still can’t forget how powerful the book was. Such detail, some awful parts too, but it was incredible.
- song? … It changes regularly but at the moment Eves the Behavior have a song called TV which I can’t stop playing! (listen/watch video below)
- food? … pizza. We are cooking pizza tonight, it’s a great meal for us to make at home, the kids love getting involved, and they end up making pizzas that they like to eat (ham and cheese)! It’s a lot of fun.
Thank you so much Julie for ‘dropping by’! It’s been so nice to get to know you a little bit more (and get a couple of new tips for books and music) :)
Love, Meg x o
More about Julie Frahm:
Working from her home studio in Murray Bridge, Julie uses Italian glass in a wide array of vibrant colours and recycles glass from bottles and other objects to create unique, colourful beads which she strings together in striking combinations.
Julie is inspired by colour and texture and is often commissioned to make jewellery out of glass which people have a sentimental attachment to.
Here’s Julie’s current favourite song if you want to listen: