ABOUT THE ARTIST
Julann Gebbie hails from the upper peninsula of Michigan – which affectionately makes her a Yooper. Born in the snow-belt town of Ironwood – near the shores of Lake Superior, she spent the bulk of her youth skiing or on non-snow days (there were a few) hiking or biking the quiet streets of Jesseville with her band of neighborhood boys or navigating the local golf course barefoot…trying to get a better feel for her swing.
She discovered the theater in her last semester of high school and further pursued the stage at Northern Michigan University – which led her to a summer internship in the costume shop of the Guthrie Theater. All that endless regional theater was all it took to convince her to study acting in earnest and she transferred into the Theater Department of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in NYC to study acting under the late great Stella Adler. From there she spent the next decade pursuing a smallish but satisfying Off Off Broadway acting career, developing her sales skills in traditional jobs, marrying her fellow Michigander husband Tom, and raising their 2 marvelous children Anne & Will in the diversity capital of the world. Serendipitously, a family membership to the West Side YMCA revealed pottery classes in the humble hideaway basement of ArtWorks Studio on 63rd St. and things took off from there. After 12 years of playing in the clay at the ArtWorks Studio, she is in deep and will not get out.
I first came in contact with clay back in my college days when I took an elective class in Throwing on the Wheel. I was thrown indeed – by the challenge of centering the mass in my hands and flummoxed by the football playing hulk next to me who effortlessly centered while I struggled to understand. I vowed to one day come back to it and wrestle the clay into submission. Little did I know…the clay will never be forced into submission.
Fast forward a few decades and I finally landed in the clay once more at the ArtWorks Studio on 63rd St. YMCA in NYC.
Once I started I couldn’t stop. The desire to make things with my hands was overwhelming. It simply feels fantastic to create shapes out of clay – functional, decorative, things of beauty and not. At first I made whatever shape I could accomplish, then as my home filled up with too many decorative forms I moved onto functional shapes – bowls, cups, plates…things I could use and incorporate into my day-to-day life. Even my friends’ shelves began to overflow with my work. I even contemplated getting rid of all my books to open up all those lovely bookshelves to accommodate my growing body of work. Mortified, horrified and confused at my willingness to toss out all those words, I was redirected into selling my work at various art fairs and exhibits. What a joy to see people respond, encourage and buy!
Suddenly the world has opened up to me in a new way and everything is an inspiration. The swirling black & white stripes on a dress, the sun falling on a flower revealing the intricate mathematical pattern inside, the animal block print on the woman’s coat sitting across from me on the subway, the overlapping colorful circles on the purse of the women waiting to board her flight, the zebra leaping across the wallpaper, the midnight glare of light off the wet pavement in the TV commercial, the trash can on the subway platform…everything looks like it could be a pot.
To purchase a piece on this site or to request a custom piece, call, text or email Julann at 917.692.4271 firstname.lastname@example.org
White clay with VMS Blue glaze, Cone 10 fired, 20″x5″