Living in the creative moment with Julie Fiona Thornton.
Updated: Apr 1
image by Nic Chapman
Julie Fiona Thornton is passionate, intelligent and she lives in the moment, which is hard to do. She doesn't hold back and she is forever discovering. When I first met Julie I was in the David Wright Gallery at the previous Artsmill base, putting up our first exhibition for Inter-Arts Festival 'Art Through Trauma' and in Julie walks, in a white coat like she had just been experimenting in a lab. She was excited because she had been creating and she was also curious about Inter-Arts too. We instantly bonded.
Julie is a creative artist who could quite happily be left in her studio for months, but luckily she likes to take photos, so this takes her out into the best place an artist an be immersed in, Nature and this is where she is happiest.
What is your creative background?
My creative background started formally with my first job out of college as an assistant arts worker in an inner-city children's charity.
Whilst reflecting on these questions I realise that having been taught at a young age to sew by Mum, and to throw pots by Dad gave me the confidence throughout my life to have a go at anything I encountered. My art work tends to be craft based although my go-to for ideas, design and recreation has been soft pastels and oil pastels since I discovered them in my teens.
What do you love to do, creatively ?
I am a pig in muck with paper, scissors and glue; and equally happy with a pile of glass, copper foil and solder.
I love that moment when I start to make something, everything is laid out in front of me, ready to go, and anything can happen! I also relish those moments when I know exactly what to do and have the skills to do it.
You are an amazing photographer and have produced some wonderful photos, are you going to incorporate this into your practise more?
I can't imagine life without a camera and this digital era is perfect for me. I often edit in photoshop and print off images that inform my glass, mosaic and 2D work.
I like detail. I like to getclose up and personal with animals, plants, rocks.. anything that catches my eye.
I really enjoy close up photography of my glass work in particular, producing abstract images that are maybe stand-alone art (and can often be much more visually engaging that the actual model!).
I few years ago I realised that I missed film photography and collecting the pictures from the shop and going to a cafe to review them over a cuppa, so I always have film in my Cannon. Might have to wait a while before I can do this again.. Only having 36 shots really focuses me.
I love your glass art pieces, what do you love about glass?
Glass is so versatile, readily available, recyclable, and comes in so many different textures and colours. There is nothing that looks like glass, besides water and ice, maybe..
It's magical. And tricky!
Recently I read one of your short stories and loved it, are you going to write more and what inspires you?
I've always written. From an early age I kept a lively, opinionated diary but when in my 20s someone read it without my permission, I was so devastated, I stopped writing anything for years.
What I enjoy about writing fiction is that I don't edit my thoughts, however out-there or painful, and that allows my stories to evolve. Through science fiction I can express my wonder and fury at the world and explore the universe through characters who grow with each tale I tell.
What female artists inspire you?
She was the first proper, full-time artist that I knew personally. Her work is deeply personal and overtly political often re-visualising classical and religious stories. I love her style and see it echoed in her daughter's work.
I found it shocking that there were women artists like her all over the world and I had never heard of them or seen their work.
Do you think women have equal rights in 2021 ?
What is the first thing you are going to do when lockdown is over?
Road trip!!! Scotland is peppered with folk I need to visit and hang out with. I want to drive for hours, stop when I need or want, and look about at that wonderful landscape.
Julie Fiona Thornton will be joining us in creating work for our on-going project Invisible Made Visible.
Take a look at the creative eye of Julie's work here. https://instagram.com/juliefionathornton