A love for pottery, bright colors, texture and the natural world inspired Julie Joy Sieving, of Sedalia, to begin making free-form slab bowls, platters and other decorative art.
A self-taught artist, Sieving began Julie’s Clay Creations in 2012 and sells most of her wares through Facebook. Sieving, who is a member of the Sedalia Visual Art Association (SVAA) and the Columbia Art League, not only has been successful in the local area with her pottery, but has shipped work to Virginia, Colorado, California and Louisiana.
“My husband (Dennis) built me a studio downstairs,” she said. “I don’t throw (pots), I hand-build. So I don’t have a wheel or anything like that.
“My pottery is really a lot different than what most people are used to,” she added. “They are very free-form, lots of bright colors. I have a following of people who really like it.”
Sieving added that she allows the clay to lead her as she begins a piece.
“I’m not real cohesive, I go with the direction that it flows,” she noted. “I’ll go down there and say ‘I’m going to make a pie plate’ and I may not do pie plates for a month.”
Her interest in pottery was piqued while traveling with her husband.
“Anytime we would travel, I would find little shops that had pieces,” she said. “I would always look for very unusual pieces that I had never seen before and collected. I love lots of bright colors and a lot of movement. Recently I’ve started doing what I call patchwork.”
Sieving said she mostly taught herself the art of pottery.
“I had a friend who let me come over to her studio and play a little bit,” she said. “I played for about three weeks and then I took off on my own.”
In her downstairs pottery studio Sieving uses a slab roller to roll out her clay and an extruder for making cords or “threads” of clay.
“I don’t use it a lot unless I’m doing some finishing work,” she said of the extruder. “I use molds to make different things.”
After the work is fired, she then hand paints all of the pieces.
“It takes quite a few hours,” Sieving said. “I put on two or three base coats and then I’ll come back with different colors. I use syringes and different kinds of things to let the paint run.”
She sometimes layers pieces by adding texture first and then adding extra clay and “melding” it together.
Her favorite color to work with is blue and her favorite glazes are called “Root Beer” and “Milk and Honey.” She has also incorporated nature into her work. Her husband is a master gardener and he grows a wide variety of flowers and plants on their property. Sieving often uses oak leaves, elephant ear leaves or pampas grass to imprint her pottery.
“I’m growing and still doing a lot of experimenting, and trying different things,” she noted. “There’s no rhyme or reason for what I do.”
Sieving only recently began delving into acrylic painting with a suggestion from a friend, Gigi Shipwright Winston.
“My friend started me out on two big commissioned pieces for her house,” Sieving said. “I love the painting part of the pottery, and I’d never tried painting.”
She created a three-panel painting, that was four-by-six-feet, depicting a mountain waterfall scene for Winston.
“That was in October of last year and I’ve sold seven paintings since then,” Sieving added. “I was surprised, but happy.”
She has done so well with her paintings that she was accepted this year as a juried member of Best of Missouri Hands. She’s also created a Facebook page, “Color to Canvas.”
Sieving is scheduled to present a program about her art this September for SVAA and will also have an art show at Sisters & Co. on South Limit Avenue. In June she will be one of the art vendors at the Queen Of the Prairies Festival of the Arts. For more information, visit her Facebook page at Julie’s Clay Creations.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss; photos by Faith Bemiss | Democrat