Julia's current work explores the topography of place and recollection. Through tactile media such as fiber, her 2-D and 3-D works stand as artifacts of her inquiries. Leveraging process and handwork, she uses stitch and found materials to form her reflections on life in the Western U.S.
Julia calls on her expereiences living in rural and wild places, both in the moment and through fractured memories. As witness to our fraught relationship with wilderness, she has found unavoidable themes of water use, Jeffersonian Grids, Manifest Destiny and colonialism recurring in her work. While considering her own visceral reaction to these issues, she also seeks to express the overlooked beauty she finds in the transition zones between seemingly contradictory conditions and opinions. In scrutinizing the border zones, she has found allegories: by looking at these edges, common ground between disparate viewpoints, and thereby opportunities for harmony, can be found.
The results of these inquiries take form in printmaking techniques, sculpture, paintings, books, stitched textiles, and art quilts. The use of stitching and watermedia intermingle between these forms. Stiching is a binder connecting Julia's past with her present, a rich fiber-art history from her upbringing, woven through the influences of art history and experience. Her fiber works may be painted in two dimensions, then displayed - or worn - in three dimensions. Wearable pieces are durable, meant to be worn and enjoyed.
The work on this page is copyright Julia March Crocetto.
"Constellation" by Julia March Crocetto; silk dye and rust on silk satin, 40" high by 25" wide, mounted on stretcher bars. Available at The Dancing Leaf Gallery, Talkeetna. To inquire, email email@example.com
Julia uses French Dyes for most of her work on silk, some fiber reactive dyes, and some acid dyes - depending upon the techniques involved, the size of the work and so on. She
researches and sketches before creating a drawing that may be traced onto the silk with resist. Julia uses water-based media to avoid the use of solvents, which is traditional for the
serti technique on silk. Silks are steamed to set the dyes, then washed to remove the resist and any traces of loose dye. Wearable art is hand washed several times, up to 140 degrees (F) to
insure colorfastness. Each piece is ironed by hand; finally, the color and detail comes to life. This labor intensive process makes her silk art very easy to care
This seemingly complicated process started in Julia's studio in semi-remote Alaska, 70 miles from the nearest dry cleaner and 120 miles from the nearest art supply store. Ease and convenience are important to her in the design process as well as to her clients in the care of their art collection. Learning about the capabilities of steam-set dyes caused Julia to continue with this technique when other, easier methods of silk painting became more readily available. Heat-set paints tend to leave a stiff residue in the luxurious silk, the French- and American-made steam-set dyes do not. The colors of steam-set dyes are unmatched, reinforcing her love for them. She does use heat-set silk paints occasionally, and notes the method on the tag so you'll know what you are getting.
Pavia's "Medicine Woman Mandala" Scarf, Hand-Dyed Silk, 48" square, Copyright 2004 Julia March Crocetto.
The Medicine Woman Mandala is full of healing and hopeful messages, bordered with landscape images from the four winds. This mandala was Julia's way of processing the intense feelings experienced when friends were facing potentially terminal illnesses.
This scarf was given to Pavia Wald, it hung above her bed for comfort and inspiration, until Pavia died of familial ALS in December 2005. Another Medicine Woman Mandala was created for Sandy Kogl, who also suffered from ALS. Pavia and Sandy both lived in Alaska and worked for National Park Service, Denali National Park and Preserve. Pavia was a naturatlist, Sandy is known for her years managing the dog kennels.
For more information about ALS (Lou Gherig's disease), visit www.alsa.org