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celebrating the tactile


From her Leigh - on -Sea studio, Julie presents a body of work shaped by living alongside the transient beauty of the Thames Estuary. A response to the ebb and flow of the tides, smoothing & unsettling, revealing and concealing a myriad of forms and found objects and fragments of history.

The guiding principle or philosophy behind Julie's work is not an intellectual scrutiny of objects but a sense-driven, textural communication, aiming to activate the senses through the sensuality of the form and its material qualities. She has hand-built in stoneware for over 35 years and her work incorporates found sea-glass, seaweed, shells and pebbles taken from her local shoreline.

"To me the the term and the concept 'haptic' deriving from an Ancient Greek word describing 'the texture, the feel and the pleasure of touching' perfectly describes the essence of my work and my creative approach to design which originates in the senses."

Julie O'Sullivan (formerly Spurgeon) had a career as a fine jewellery designer before returning to her first creative love, ceramics, graduating in 2008 from Central Saint Martins with a First Class Honours Degree in Ceramic Design. Her degree show project Material Pleasures was developed into commercial production , supplying both Liberty, London and Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly and enabling her to develop her studio practice in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Although Julie now hand-builds using a very coarse-textured stoneware clay, there remains a sensuous delicacy or fragility to her work.