Taboo Studio

1615½ W. Lewis Street

San Diego, CA 92103


Julia D. Harrison

Julia D. Harrison - Artist Statement and Resume

Artist Statement

I didn't set out to become a wood carver, as illustrated by the fact that I have a degree in Metal Conservation and an MFA in Metals. My first efforts at carving, during an undergrad sculpture seminar, amounted to pure frustration. Then about 10 years ago a friend gave me a chunk of perfectly seasoned boxwood and something just clicked; since then I've spent much of my time attacking small pieces of wood with even smaller pieces of metal. My figurative wooden jewelry and small-scale sculptures have appeared in galleries in the US and in England, as well as in Metalsmith's 2006 Exhibition in Print.

My work is concerned with narrative gestures and those stories quietly told by human bodies. I've reproduced a wide range of expressive physical features: a child's pout, a furrowed brow, a flash of cleavage, a clenched fist, a fading bruise. I carve by hand and use hardwoods and fruitwoods such as maple and cherry. I find these materials to be both convincingly fleshy and a pleasure to wear. Wood is smooth and slightly warm, and, like our bodies, can be bruised or marred by experience.

I travel whenever possible and strive to pick up new skills along the way. My techniques and aesthetic have been influenced by a variety of carving traditions, including European and American folk carvings, Japanese netsuke and Noh masks, and Maori bone pendants, as well as by carvers based nearer my home in the Pacific Northwest. I'm pleased to be able to share these techniques with students in my "Jewelry that Grows on Trees" workshops. I've taught at the Penland School of Craft, the 92nd Street Y, and Seattle's Pratt Fine Arts Center.


Recent Exhibitions (*solo exhibition)

2010 *Sweet Travel (upcoming), Fresh Flours, Seattle, WA
  Anatomy Lessons, Taboo Studio, San Diego, CA
  Extreme Beauty, Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX
2009 Signs of Life, Facere Gallery, Seattle, WA
2008 500 Handmade Books (publication), Lark Books, US
2007 Christmas Show, Electrum, London, UK
  Wood You?, Kath Libbert Gallery, Saltaire, UK
  *Choose the Mountain, Quirk Gallery, Richmond, VA
  New Instructors, Penland Gallery, Penland, NC
2006 SOFA Chicago, Sienna Gallery, Chicago, IL
  *A Lingering Sweetness, KOBO at Higo, Seattle, WA
  *Rhizome: New Bamboo Jewelry, KOBO at Higo, Seattle, WA
  Collaboration, Widney Moore, Portland, OR
  Exhibition in Print (publication), Metalsmith Magazine, US
  100 Brooches, Pacini Lubel Gallery, Seattle, WA
2005 Cocktails at 5, Sculpture To Wear, Santa Monica, CA
  Fecundity, Julie Artisans’ Gallery, New York, NY
2004 Everyday Art, Thread Shop, Seattle, WA
  *Lover’s Portrait, Souvenir, Seattle, WA


2010 (scheduled) Instructor, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle, WA. Jewelry introduction for summer Teen Week
  Workshop Instuctor, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle, WA "Jewelry That Grows on Trees" 8-week course
2009 Guest Artist and Workshop Instructor, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ "Jewelry That Grows on Trees" and carving intensive
  Weekend Workshop Instructor, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle, WA "Jewelry That Grows on Trees"
  Weekend Workshop Instructor, 92nd St Y, New York, NY "Jewelry That Grows on Trees"

Guest Lecturer, University of WA School of Art, Metals Dept. Seattle, WA slide presentation and individual critiques

  Summer Session Instructor, Penland School of Craft. Penland, NC. "Jewelry That Grows on Trees"


2009 Pratt/PONCHO Fellowship, Seattle, WA
2006 Award for New & Innovative Work, American Bamboo Society, USA
  Patricia Babb Scholarship, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC
  Artist-in Residence, Helen Whiteley Research Center, Friday Harbor, WA
2003 University of WA Graduate School Medal Design Commission, Seattle, WA


2007 "Bamboo Shoots to Make its Mark", American Craft
  "Wood You? Review", The ACJ's Findings
  "Five questions for...Julia Harrison", Leeds MetroLife
2006 "Cultural anthropologist tells Japantown's bittersweet history through candy", Seattle Times

Related Activities

2008 Juror, Individual Artist Awards Panel, Ohio Arts Council. Columbus, OH
  Review Writer, "Then and Now," Metalsmith Magazine, Winter '08
2003 Exhibitions and Events Organizer, StrangeCo., Seattle, WA


2004 MFA (Metals), University of WA. Seattle, WA
2002 MA (Applied Anthropology), Macquarie University. Sydney, Australia
1999 Dip.Cons (Metal Conservation), West Dean College. Chichester, UK
1996 BA (English, Anthropology), Macalester College. St. Paul, MN






5/7/2010 – 6/18/2010

Click an image for larger version

Julia D. Harrison, Blue Belle (left), Aviator (right), Brooches, Julia D. Harrison, Swallowtail (top), Formline (bottom), Brooches, Julia D. Harrison, Rosebud Brooches, Julia D. Harrison, Holler Brooches, Julia D. Harrison, Sunspot Pendant,


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