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HomeCultureCreating The Creators Lifestyle | Julie Harbers | Episode 923

Creating The Creators Lifestyle | Julie Harbers | Episode 923

Julie Harbers | Episode 923

Julie Harbers is a potter from Orlando, FL who splits her time between two community studios as a teacher/staff and her own backyard studio. Julie creates functional tableware with colorful surface designs using colored slips, underglazes and glazes.


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You almost got sidelined with your dreams and almost put them on hold. How dangerous are you to get distracted from following your real dreams?

Well it can be a big threat because people can get into this career and feel stuck in it. I guess since I never started a career in journalism, I never really got stuck in it. It never became my source of income where I was Oh, now I’ve got benefits and I can’t go. You know. I could never structure my life after that. So I kept my options open by never committing to them.

How critical was the decision to do what you wanted to do? Just decide?

That was it. If I finally decide to do it, I’d say it’s been a journey to this point, you know. The decision is really the turning point, everything else is just action. So you have to get to that point in your mind where you are no longer afraid of the decision and you can make the decision and feel confident and act out. So everything that came before the decision taught me not to be afraid.

Is it important to say no to the golden handcuffs and security and say yes to the dream that supports the life you want?

I think I was lucky that I was able to do this step by step. I started working in two studios after graduation and actually I was very lucky, but you know that even that alone wasn’t enough income. And at that point I wasn’t making much money from pots. So when more opportunities came up, I took them or started developing more pots to sell and I slowly worked towards that. It’s just a very slow step by step in this direction that has gotten me to where I am. And I feel like the creative life is always evolving and it’s important to be flexible so it can change as your needs change.

Is it important to add a little bit here and there just so you can get to that final complete severing of ties with the other life?

Yes I think so. When I started doing shows and I thought Oh I’ll do more shows and make more money that way. But then I was sort of on track to do that until the pandemic struck. Now I don’t want to do shows. I do a few every year, but then I move the sale to more wholesale or more websites or you know different ways to get the work out there. I could teach a class for a change. It’s just important to be in the community, opportunities come up a lot and you can kind of decide whether to take them or not. The ceramics community is truly self-supporting. We support each other.

That is an important point. On your journey, you gotta have your people, right?

Yes, everything I have today I owe to my membership in the ceramics community. After I graduated I was just hanging out with other potters and potters who have been doing it their entire lives and passing the torch. The studio I’m sitting in right now is owned by my dear friend who lived here for thirty years and moved to another house in the area and said: Why doesn’t Julie use this space, he has a full studio in the backyard. And that was in 2020. How lucky was that? I mean everything that has come to me has come through people in the ceramics community.

When you’re alone, what kind of things will help you spark creativity? is it music Are they books on tape? Is it podcasts or is it silence? Tell me your perfect working environment where you can be creative.

I’m really into podcasts these days. I also stop music. Sometimes I just sit in silence and write a lot in my journal. But in the studio I usually have something in my ears and when I have a thought, something downloading into my brain, I stop and grab a journal. I will too… I write down all my dreams. My night dreams because they’re very symbolic and I think it’s a really good practice to look at things symbolically. But mostly podcasts these days.

A book

Hints by Zadie Smith


Instagram: @harbjul



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