Julia Whitney Brown

Artist Statement

My practice works to deepen meaningful connections between people, their environment, and their perceptions. As a practitioner of creativity, my work has many directions. It takes the form of social projects, craft pottery, and at times as an opportunity to engage in personal expression/voice. As social projects, my work is intended to be experienced in a community, as a social experience, and conversation. My intention is to enact lasting positive social change and engagement through collaborations with individuals, communities, and institutions. These social projects are not always concrete- as people walk away with an experience, a full belly, or a relationship rather than an object. The main goal in my social projects is to create sustainable knowledge, ways of working, and systems for others to thrive in their daily lives. Through my craft pottery practice I hope to present the values of modesty and active listening through the design and creation of objects intended to be the frame for something larger than itself; ie. the ritual of eating. The hope of my simple and classic designs are to not only showcase our most important commodity, food: but to also slow down the moment as someone notices how a glaze glows softly in the sunlight, or a specific mark elevates their sensual experiences. ​In between the spaces of my practice as a studio potter and social collaborator, I engage with clay as a journal to my personal experiences and emotions via play and mark making. These poetic pieces act as a symbol to my perceptions and experiences. They sit between my more intentional works- similar to rests within a musical composition or a play of language where traditional logical thought is not paramount. This process of moving between collaborative spaces, historical craft,  and personal expression allows me freedom to learn in ways that impact my whole person. Therefore, success within my practice is a continual cycle of learning about others, the world, and how my perceptions of these experiences translate into meaningful actions.


Julia Whitney Brown graduated with a BFA in Fine Art, BS in Education and Art History minor in 2011 from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.​Julia’s work is influenced by her experiences growing up in a tight-knit alt-right fundamental Christian community. When she defied her father’s wishes to attend a liberal arts university her work experienced an explosion of divergence as she started making meaningful contact with others from different backgrounds. From there, she made it a point to gain as many outside perspectives on ‘how to live’ as possible. She learned art may not only be an avenue for healing, but a tool for solving and acknowledging difficult problems. Art became the medium for which she could build a bridge between herself and ‘the world.’​Julia has worked as a studio assistant at Peters Valley Craft Center in New Jersey, for Susan Bostwick in Illinois, and for Black Mountain College potter Karen Karnes in upstate Vermont.She has participated in several artist residency programs including Chautauqua in New York, and Vermont Studio Center.  In 2010 she presented her research on, “China Painting on Wood fired Surfaces” at NCECA in Philadelphia, PA.In 2015 she curated an invitational exhibition titled, “The Clay Way,” which included over 60 professional artists from over 20 states. In 2016, she founded Old School Farm Pottery (OSFP), an arts program in the nonprofit Old School Farm whose mission is to meaningfully employ adults with intellectual disability. Julia and her husband moved to Kalamazoo, MI in 2019 to start Tiny Giant Farm, a regenerative farm. She continues to make, teach, and exhibit her works at farmer’s markets, galleries, and museums across the country.