Piedmont ClayWorks

Durham, Durham County, NC

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My work explores questions and cultural assumptions surrounding the place and presence of the female body and existence, both in artistic communities and larger social landscapes. Focusing specifically on the female body my clay representations question the bodies heightened sexual and deeply political place in our culture, attempting to desexualize and normalize its naked presence in everyday life.

I began making breasts as a reaction to the current state of political affairs in this country, as a way to subvert and disrupt the vision of a comfortable, safe, meek female population that the political right seemed to be exalting. My political statement quickly evolved into a much more personal project. Making breasts and bodies became a form of reconciliation between myself and my own body. In thinking about why I was so drawn to the breast as an image for resistance and reconciliation I realized the hundreds of conversations that I have had over the course of my life about breasts; with other women, with men, gay, straight, young, old; the female breast was not only revered by everyone I spoke to, but also a source of deep and bitter conflict for many women. These contrasting images of the breast, both exalted and resented, all while being vital to the existence of the human race struck me as similar to the position that women often hold in conversations about gender, class and society.

For me the practice of making art has always been imbedded in the fabric of my life, the art of living joyfully. In high school I scoured the streets and dumpsters around town for pieces with which to create, in college I took art classes and used art as the focus of many of my ethnographic studies. After college, working at the butcher shop, I used bones from the animals that we butchered to make wind chimes and wall hangings. Looking back my art work has always been about reclamation and reuse, finding and tangibly making my place in the world has become how I live my life. While making bodies I am always looking to other artists and academics for their representations and ideas on the female body and breast. In living my daily life I am constantly incorporating and processing images of women and conversations about our bodies and rights. In many ways anger has sparked much of my work historically, using political and social injustice as fodder for creation and deeper examination.

I envision my work as a form of healing in many ways, as a way to highlight and unabashedly celebrate women, take an exploited and misunderstood part of our bodies and turn it into something useful, something to grow out of and spark conversations with. I hope that my work can act as a tangible line of connection between diverse groups of women, bringing us together in a global community questioning the roles and standards that are set, and we set for ourselves in the world.

My work grapples with what it means to be a feminist, woman, maker, activist and human being in todays media saturated world. Important to this are my experiences as a young woman working in mostly male dominated or championed fields such as butchery in New York City, and the wood-fire communities here in North Carolina. Both deal with raw products and their transformation into consumable goods, and both provide ample opportunity to study the inclusion, and often assumed or automatic exclusion of women in these stories and histories. In combining North Carolina pottery forms with depictions of the female body, I hope to bring to light these questions and universal experiences of women.

Julie Hinson | piedmontclayworks@gmail.com

IMG_0027 - Julie Hinson
jw9977 - Julie Hinson

Twin Face Containers

Matching wood fired tall containers, each adorned with faces around the rim. One glazed in a shino glaze, the other left to toast in the fire and ash of the wood kiln.

“I want a president” Poem Basket

Stone ware basket with Zoe Leonards 1992 “I want a president” poem printed around the outside. Created with North Carolina stoneware clay and salt fired in a wood kiln. I created this piece in reaction to rather egregious misconduct on the part of our current president, though at this point there have been so many I forget which event exactly precipitated this creation. Created in 2019 while a resident at the North Carolina Pottery Center.

Wood Fired Goddess

A wheel thrown goddess form fired in a North Carolina wood kiln.