Julia Strait has 18 orchids in her front room. Admittedly, it’s one of the only plants that she can keep alive, which is a good thing because much of her artistic inspiration comes from the brilliant colors of the petals.
“Dot stacking already yields itself to be reminiscent of a flower,” says Julia. “I really try to play with not only the pattern, but changing the color pattern within a pattern.”
To create the dramatic patterns, each individual dot — as many as 500 — is laid down one at a time with rod of glass.
“I do a lot of experimenting and if I find a pattern or color combination that I love, I go with it and have fun,” Julia says. “The glass companies keep coming out with all these wonderful colors that I can continue adding to my palette, so it’s forever expanding.”
Julia began her artistic journey as a print making student at West Texas A&M, but after taking a glass blowing class, was prompted by a professor to further her studies abroad in the Czech Republic. She was hooked, “being able to create something that connected so far back into time and history.”
Back in the states, she connected with glass artists who introduced her to flameworking, and eight years later, her amazing work is on display (and for sale) in art galleries, tattoo shops and more and more smoke shops.
“Not everyone smokes, so pendants offers another way for people to interact with glass,” Julia says. “There are people who wear them as a fashion statement, hang them on their Christmas tree and even use them on the pull cord of their ceiling fans.”
Julia also has a huge fanbase on Instagram where she has more than 37 THOUSAND followers! Her goal is to make and post a new pendant every day — there are more than 3,300 posts; each totally unique.
“When I get tagged on Instagram by somebody wearing one of my pieces, it’s the coolest feeling,” she says. “I’m just humbled by it.”
“Glass blowing for me, is kind of like writing in a journal as a way to release any tension in my soul and work through situations in my life,” she adds. “When I get an idea, I run to the torch and try to figure it out. I don’t really do a lot of sketching beforehand — it tends to all come together right there in the moment.”