Mama Vendor Profile: Julia E. Dean

December 10, 2009

Julia is both a member of the Mama Goose staff and a Mama Vendor for the store. Julia’s interview includes questions about her work at Mama Goose and her love for the clay.

Julia at the wheel.

Julia at the wheel.

How long have you worked for Mama Goose and what do you do?

It will be 2 years in February. I buy, sell, arrange, rearrange, design and implement the window decor (with lots of help from the team).

How did you land at The Goose?

We moved to the area 2 years ago and after a couple of months of being alone in my studio every day, I was going stir crazy.  I applied for two part time jobs and was offered this one on my birthday! I took it as a sign and quickly accepted.

What is your favorite part of the job?

The endless opportunities for creativity and change of scenery.

Do you have a favorite or funny Goose moment?

I find that our staff is fairly comfortable with each other and we break out some seriously funny spontaneous dance moves when customers aren’t looking.  There are also some moments of clumsiness behind the scenes that can bring us to our knees in laughter.

Do you have a favorite children’s book?

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss & The Root Children by Sibylle Von Olfers

What is your favorite business in Ithaca other than MG?

Greenstar.  I can’t get enough of shopping the bulk section!

Describe your art/work/product….

I have been making, selling, and teaching functional pottery for 12 years. I also dabble in stained glass, lampwork beads, painting and paper collage.

Julia's pottery studio.

How has the Mama Vendor experience been for you?

Wonderful. I’ve never had an outlet for my work where I can get customer feedback so often. I love it when I can introduce myself as the artist when I check a customer out at the register!

Carefully, fire the kiln.

What is for sale at the goose?

Stoneware baby sets and paper collage cards.

How did starting a family change, enhance, interrupt your creative work?

Having a baby put much of my production on hold until she went to daycare a couple of years ago. I find I’m slowly getting more time in the studio the older she gets.  She often joins me and stays focused on her own creations for sometimes over an hour. Still, most of my work gets done when she’s at school.

Tips for mamas wanting/aching to do their art and be good parents?

As much as your medium will allow, give yourself set hours to work just like you were at a job. Communicate well and in advance with your partner and/or childcare provider. Use your child’s naptime and bedtime to work. Carve out a little space in your house for just your creative work.  Treat it like your sacred space and always remember that your creative time is filling you up so that you can be the parent you envision yourself to be.

Julia organizes her studio.

You talked about your art moving in the direction of sculpture, was that influenced by motherhood?

Yes. Having an infant was a difficult experience for me and I was forced to take a good hard look at my Self.  The inner journey I’ve been on over the last 5 years has lead me to many discoveries, visions, and dreams.  My new sculpture work is the manifestation of these.  It’s a very exciting process for me to see my work move in a conceptual direction.

How do you talk about and experience art with your family?

I generally confide in and bounce ideas off my husband, Tim, about my work; whether it’s hurdles in the function of a design and asthetics, or the deeper concepts of sculptures and images. He is a deep soul and I appreciate that he’s the one person who has been on this journey with me.
Experiencing hands on usually happens with Ella.  She typically sits at a table and happily handbuilds in the studio while I work on the wheel.  She loves making carved tiles for her grandparents. And occassionally I guide her through working on the wheel.
We love to go to art shows and galleries together. First Friday here in Ithaca is a great art event for kids. Ella is still ususally more interested in the refreshment table at art openings, but then again, sometimes so am I!

Is your work for sale outside of the Goose?

Yes, my funtional work sells at Silk Oak & Friends on Seneca Street in the old Mama Goose building, and stores in Kentucky, North Carolina and Baltimore.

The finished product!

Look for this Spring and stop in to the store to meet the artist, you won’t be disappointed!

-The Geese at The Goose


One Response to “Mama Vendor Profile: Julia E. Dean”

  1. Kathleen Says:

    I’m so glad you featured Julie on your blog! She is a fabulous artist and an even more fabulous person – if that’s possible! And I can’t wait to see her website! (She made my first ever set of grown-up dishes, too.) I highly recommend Julie if you need a little TLC for your soul and a little cup for your tea. She’s done both for me!

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