Julie Richey: The Places We Love

Carmen NatschkeArtful Consideration


Fig1JulieRicheyLaCorrente2010[8] Julie Richey’s “La Corrente” (The Current) ( 2010). Size: 29 x 22 x 22 in.  Italian and Mexican smalti, marble, 24K gold smalti, seashells, chalcedony.

It is easy to get swept away to the sea by Julie Richey’s “La Corrente”.  Since the sculpture won the prize for Best 3 Dimensional at the 2010 Mosaic Arts International, “La Corrente” has been been featured as the face of Ravenna’s Fashion Week, appeared in numerous online publications, and made a guest appearance on the blog for Paris Fashion Week.

“La Corrente” was inspired by the Gulf Coast of Texas and Richey’s interest in the area’s delicate ecology.  Billowing strands of Giant Asian Sea Kelp, an invasive species, made from 24k gold Venetian glass smalti sweep through the fabric of white marble waves.  A closer look reveals still more treasure in the form of a scattering of tiny, precious seashells.  Finally, there is the piece de resistance–the delicious, flirty petticoat made from hundreds of sea spines.

Fig2JulierRicheyLaCorrenteDetail[4]While Richey was working on La Corrente, the horrendous Gulf oil spill occurred.  The artist says, “La Corrente is about beauty amidst destruction and alludes to the many destructive forces, both manmade and natural, that creep in with the current.”  The sculpture currently resides in the Dallas home of an art collector where the morning sunlight “shows off the sparkling green and silver gold reflections.”  What a lovely way to start the day.

Equally evocative of a place is Richey’s Nightshirt.

Fig3JulieRicheyNightshirt2008[4] Julie Richey’s “Nightshirt” (2008). Size: 32.5 x 21 x 2.5 in.  Smalti, 24K gold smalti, transparente, dichroic glass, stained glass, millefiori.

Richey’s tribute to San Francisco is a multiple award winner, having garnered the international Orsoni Grand Prize in 2009 and a Juror’s Choice nod from the 2009 Mosaic Arts International.  Here, sculpture and emotion meet in what one juror called “pure poetry.”  Richey writes, “The inspiration was twelve friends, a limo ride, a park overlooking the city, moonlight, 3 a.m. and me–mesmerized by the moment.  Once I started sketching, the piece naturally evolved into the shape of a man’s sleep shirt.”

Fig4Richey_NightShirt_2008_detail[4]Detail of Julie Richey’s “Nightshirt” (2008).

Nightshirt is a wonderful example of how compelling the details in mosaic art can be.  Using classical mosaic materials, Richey has created the San Francisco skyline in a way that begs for a closer inspection.  For anyone who has left their heart in the City by the Bay, Nightshirt is a potent reminder of what makes that place so very special.


Many of these beautiful artworks are for sale.  Please contact Julie Richey for more information.


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nancie-pipgras-portrait-crop[7][3] Nancie Mills Pipgras is the Editor of Mosaic Art NOW, an online publication devoted to the very best in contemporary mosaic art and thought.  An unabashed promoter of the art form, Mills Pipgras is a former president of the Society of American Mosaic Artists and has been dubbed The Mosaic Maven by HandfulofSalt.com.  Join the mosaic conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Flipboard.