Saturday 12 January 2013

Introducing Julia Theobalt

After 3.5 years of exhibiting and studying Fine Art at the VCA, in Melbourne, Australia, Julia now lives and works in Berlin, Germany, where she is currently completing her degree in Product Design.
Multidisciplinary designer and artist, Julia Theobalt is showing her jewellery and scarfs collection at Fier Showroom A/W 13/14 during Berlin Fashion Week.

Read the Q&A with Julia Theobalt

Q&A with desigener Julia Theobalt 

Where do you come from, what’s your background? 
 I come from a background in fine art, studying first at a small college in my home town near Frankfurt, Germany, before moving to Australia to study at the VCA in Melbourne (Victorian College of the arts). At that time I was having several solo exhibitions and mostly working with geometrical painting or installations using reflective materials such as light to investigate the ideas around hard edge abstraction and minimalism. I moved back to Germany after being accepted at the University of the Arts Berlin (UDK). It was a natural progression to continue studying design and to further develop my ideas: Since then I have worked on multiple pieces from furniture to jewellery inspired by my art practice.

Are there any Influences from your country? 

During my four years in Australia is when I think I really began finding my own “style”. I guess living in a big city full of skyscrapers (as well as living in one) and spending so much time in a place that’s becoming known for its architecture I couldn’t help but soak up these new inspirations. Funnily enough my friends in Melbourne thought my work to be “very German” so I must’ve subconsciously taken in these influences in my life.

Who's behind your label? How did you start? Why?
During my studies I developed a passion for jewellery and fashion design and started to study everything with a geometric pattern or interesting shapes. In the beginning I created jewellery just for myself with materials I also used for my art practice. From here it grew into a way of expressing what I am about.

What's your product about? And who is it for? 

Firstly I enjoy the process of creating new pieces and if other people enjoy wearing them that’s even better. My works tend to be quite technical and consist of hard edge shapes that I believe make them quite unisex. I like the idea of jewellery being large and a little bit bulky. I like the thought of feeling what you wear and being aware that you’re wearing it. It is supposed to stand out and be seen!

What’s your style? Materials? What sets you apart? What cuts? 
My style could be described as spatial elements and geometric forms brought together in various works to address the relationship between three and two-dimensional shapes. This is mostly realised with reflective, transparent and materials that help create mirrored depth. I like to make works with a different array of materials, recently preferring acrylics. None of my works are produced in low wage factories: mostly everything is handmade by me, where possible. With my scarfs I sourced a company in the USA that prints my designs on organic cotton wool.

Inspirations behind your last collection? 
My jewellery is regularly based on drawings/ paintings I have made, which are again inspired by many forms, mainly architectural shapes and spaces. Saying that, you never know when or what I will find inspiration from. My Fragment scarfs developed from a project I had recently worked on. The idea behind it was to create an illusion of something being there that isn`t. The scarf consists of a few simple shapes: a circle, a line, a dash and a cube. When these symbols are combined it creates a complex geometric pattern, repeated again and again it begins to create an impression of a knitted scarf.

What kind of support have you had from the contests, the state, the university? 

I received a prize and a few sponsorships during my time in Australia – their government seems to be very supportive and appreciative of the arts. In Germany the Uni courses are generally subsidised and companies often sponsor projects either through money, prizes or materials. As part of my degree I had the chance to work with some great designers and firms. A project with the Kahla porcelain manufacturer, a 3 month internship with the girls from FOLKFORM in Stockholm and another year long work experience with the Berlin based Jewellery designer Svenja John have all exposed me to new ideas and practices.

What's the media support for emerging talents? 
With the rise of blogging and social media there’s a greater potential to be noticed, but at the same time due to the sheer vastness of information it can be just as easy to be missed. It’s true that you need to continuously work hard to get your work out in the world and to stay visible. Saying that, it’s amazing to live in a time where individuals have the power to be noticed as much as large corporations. There are some fantastic people out there who devote their free time publicizing things they love!

What's your next step, can you explain what you have reached so far?
I am currently graduating and to be finished next year in spring. By then I am planning to have set up my design business and keep making new works.

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