Julia Obermaier is a contemporary jewellery artist living and working in Germany. Her work concentrates on personal spaces, prompting fragile encounters of stone and metal. By creating delicate jewellery and dishware, she explores the ways of how an object interacts with its user.
What have you rebelled against in the past, and what are you rebelling against now?
Ignorance is something I rebelled in the past and I’m still rebelling against. You should always have an open mind for things you don’t know, look around you, observe and be open to learn.
Do you need to be a rebel to enjoy your work?
No. You don’t need to be a rebel to enjoy my work. You need to be an open-minded person, who likes to discover every little corner of my pieces. Allow yourself to zone out.
Do you use your own work?
I use mine, but also pieces from other artists. In my opinion, it is really important for a maker to experience their own artwork. I want to know how it feels to wear my jewellery pieces or what it does with me when I eat from an unusual plate. Another aspect is that it is also just really nice to brighten up the everyday routine by using different tableware.
Do you think dishware can still be improved? If yes, in what way?
I don’t think it’s about improving dishware, it’s more about adapting to the kind of food you want to serve and eat. As there is an exciting change of eating habits in our society at the moment, I think dishware should also be changing to become more part of an experience. It would be nice to bring both, food and tableware, more close together to have a little everyday dining-adventure.
What was the inspiration for your Steinbeisser series?
My plates and bowls are made out of agate and influenced by different spaces I have come across during my last journeys. When I’m travelling I observe a lot the spaces and areas which are surrounding me. Among other things I’m curious how buildings, streets, houses and whole cities were built. But I listen also to my inner voice: Where do I feel comfortable? Where do I feel free? I want that the user of the plates and bowls can zone out while observing the depth of this beautiful material, and of course the delicious food which will be served on it.
Describe your work in 3 words!
Observation. Silence. Imagination.
What kind of materials do you use and where do you get them from?
The materials I use in my tableware are agate, food stable resin and pigment. In some of them, I also used black basalt as a part of the plate. The agate and basalt I bought in Idar-Oberstein, the city of stones and the origin of my stonecutting fever. The resin is from a French company.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m working on a really big new project, I’m doing my masters of advanced design.
What excites you about tomorrow?
I am excited about tomorrow because you never know what’s coming next. So there are always new adventures awaiting ahead.
What has been your favourite dinner experience?
My favourite dinner experience was the “Goodbye” dinner of a former professor of mine. We set up a super long table all along the corridor for around 60 people and made an installation with several plinths and tables where the food was served on. It looked really amazing. But it was not just the dinner situation itself which was beautiful, also the food was a highlight for me. Every student of us cooked a traditional meal from their country and in the end we had around 50 different dishes, from over 20 countries. It was the most colourful and most delicious dinner experience I had.
What further ambitions do you have?
I just want to keep on working in my studio and be in contact with other creative people. And then let’s see what comes next.
What are your 3 favourite pieces on Jouw…?
This is really hard… one of my favourites is the cutlery of Stuart Cairns, the sculpture bowls by Sculpture Bowls by Young Ran Lee and the plates by Helen Habtay.