Julie Lake


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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    I am a maker living in the high desert of northern New Mexico. My father was a machinist/knife maker, and I spent my childhood in his workshop learning to run equipment including milling machines and lathes. I then studied metal smithing in college, went on to apprentice with a goldsmith, then shifted into structural and decorative welding. For the last ten years I've been distilling those skills. Now, in my late forties, I am fully stepping into my identity as a contemporary craftsperson.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: My jewelry and sculptural works are made from a high tensile strength, fine gauge stainless steel wire. Because of the high melting temperature of this metal, it can't be soldered like gold or silver. Instead, I join the metal with an industrial arc welding process, whereby the steel is melted and fused together by a tiny, but very intense, electrical current.

    A: My approach of only using a very specific material in a limited range of sizes is quite minimalistic, but I engage with the metal and the welding process with multidisciplinary intent. I've discovered that stainless is an amazingly versatile metal. It has allowed my body of work to span from large scale art installation, to design driven functional items, to wearable and decorative pieces rooted in fine craft.

    A: "Stainless steel" and "welding" typically conjure images of industrial objects or hefty sculptures. People are often surprised that I can create such delicate looking work with this material and process. Yet, I do incorporate the strength and durability that stainless steel offers. The jewelry I fabricate from this is deceptively tough, won't tarnish or rust and is hypoallergenic. Its wearability actually exceeds the metals commonly associated with jewelry.

    A: The sparse beauty of the landscape around my home in Taos, NM has deeply influenced my work.

    A: I'm sure many have this sentiment, but I've never felt more inspired by and a stronger connection to the community of crafters than I have over the last year and a half. I mostly experienced this through social media, where crises became the catalysts to increase cross-promotion of other makers' work, share information on emergency resources and lift up underrepresented crafters. I'm definitely on board for more of that.

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