Artist Profile – Julie Powell

Most people know Julie Powell as the designer who creates sumptuous sweaters from colorful yarns as Director of Design & Merchandising for Boulder-based, Icelandic Design. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that she’s fascinated by woven, knitted and embroidered textiles. From there it’s not such a leap, that in her “free” time, she designs and creates intricate and sophisticated beaded jewelry.

Threading individual glass seed beads, one at a time, onto a fine metal braided thread Julie fabricates cuffs, necklaces and bags. The surfaces and finishes of the beads, along with the myriad range of colors inspire her. “I am moved by color. It causes my heart to beat and my thoughts to race. While considering form, color is always my launching pad”, she says.

How does she manage to fit making time consuming jewelry into her busy schedule, which includes a full-time job designing between 75 and 100 sweaters a year and raising two boys with the help of her husband? “I just do. Beading is my passion.” While traveling to visit sweater factories in Asia and Europe, Julie pulls out her beads and starts working on a new piece; the discomfort of the long flight forgotten.

Of her work Julie says, “each piece is an engineering challenge and a puzzle, sparking ideas for new pieces with every stitch. I’m always thirsty to create another.” This is a good thing, as her one-of-a-kind beaded baubles are selling like mad at art and craft shows and by special order. Visit her website for a listing of galleries and shows, and to see more of her dazzling creations.

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I will be blogging about more “closet” artists within the Outdoor & SnowSports industries in the upcoming weeks. The criteria is that they work within these industries, and that they don’t make art as part of their full-time job. If you are an artist or have suggestions please pass them along.

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