My work is my response to the landscape. Landscape holds our history and sustains us – it inhabits us as much as we inhabit it. I have chosen to work with natural materials from my local landscape as far as possible. I’ve also chosen to use traditional processes, which bring us closer to the landscape and lives lived on the land; processes such as forging and casting. The work celebrates the interaction of people with their cultural and natural environments. My design is led by what the processes and materials can achieve and how pieces feel when held. The surface patterns, textures and forms are integral to the making. The aesthetic is simple and understated. The character of a piece arises from the process of making and patina. Connecting with and creating in the landscape, a concern for sustainability and reflecting on the importance of the domestic is at the heart of my work. I want the viewer to find a sense of place and connection; and to reflect on the value of small lives well lived.
Julia Cowie casts metal vessels and spoons palpably redolent of ancient landscapes and people - The Scotsman (August 2018)
I use local sands and clay to make my moulds and a charcoal furnace so that I can cast in the landscape. The shapes are simple, hand-held vessels in bronze, silver or mixed metal. The process goes back to the Bronze Age and the earliest bronze workers.
Pattern-welded steel is a traditional indicator of quality steel much prized by the Vikings for blades. I have subverted this by making and using it for bowls and spoons. As a non-precious metal iron can be made precious by the time and skill invested to make a piece.
I continue to experiment with mixed metal castings and with incorporating sound into pieces. Using site-specific materials in the landscape remains important to my work. I also have a range of jewellery which uses my own charms in individual story bracelets, necklaces and earrings
All my items are individual, so I can discuss commissions if a particular piece is sold