Kettle Art brings you the fifth in a series of interviews with the six artists that are currently showing their work in the “Forces of Nature” exhibit.

Today, we get up close with Julia Schloss.

Enjoy …


Julia Schloss

Kettle – Please tell us a little about yourself (give a brief bio).
Julia – Shortly after Julia was born in Northern California her parents moved to Dallas. Raised in church and public school, she received adequate art instruction. Born with an independent mind and creative streak attributed to her maternal grand father, an Irish horseman leatherworker, harness makin tight rope walker with The Ringling Bros. Circus, Julia has been reinventing her environment as long as she can remember.
Starting with furniture for her dolls from the trash can in the kitchen. 
Through gifting friends and family over her lifetime with whimsical salvage art pieces Julia has been a self taught creatrix. Calling herself a Salvagista before she knew what Mixed Media was. 
Julia teaches several Creative Sustainable Art workshops and classes. Leading participants on a meditative journey revealing their inner artist while sharing the resources and creative recycling ideas she has been blessed to learn on her path as an outsider artist recycling lifes’ cast offs into heirloom treasures. 
The series created for Forces of Nature was developed from a burned down home and the new construction salvage found on a Summer bulky trash pick up weekend  in East Dallas.A Heart of Fire is a metaphor for Life, and it’s Forces of Nature.
Kettle – How long have you been pursuing the creative life?
Julia – Since I can remember remembering. 
Kettle – When did you first discover your creative side?
Julia – I never knew a time without it.
Earth Angel
Kettle – Do you have formal training, or are you self taught?
Julia – I’m self taught.
Kettle – Could you please describe some of your latest work?
Julia – The series I created in response to the call for The Forces of Nature all developed from a bulky trash pile I came upon while walking my Dogs in my old neighborhood of Casa Linda.

A home had burned down. The larger parts of the house remnants had been removed, but the smaller things had just been bulldozed to the curb. It was enormous. The pile contained all the stuff you expect to find, kitchen utensils, scorched clothes and window treatments. I kept walking the Dogs past it, then something blue revealed itself to me I took my Dogs home and returned in my truck with my Salvagista Gear and proceeded to find mUCh personal treasure belonging to the Woman who lived in the house. 

Just below the surface of this pile, I began to find great things. Records in a plastic bin. Good ones too!

A collection of Kennedy memorabilia. A box of good clothes, shoes and a couple of big silk wool coats, one with mink cuffs and collar. All vintage 50’s. There were her photo albums. They practically reached out to me like a puppy in a pet store.

It was her whole life and identity. My heart skipped a beat – I could find her family.

It would be ez. They would want the jewelry and travel journals and photos and clothing and all of it! They’d distribute it amongst them. Some terrible thing had happen that caused them to not know their mom’s house had burned down. And I was going to fix it. Make it all better and it would then in turn make me feel better about my family losses. After searching tax records and making lots of calls, I found out that no one wanted these things. That I could do as I wished with them.

I was crushed for her. I grieved for her. And for myself. For my family and it’s fractures so complete. For the loss to The World of balance and health, love and compassion.

Throughout this series utilizing the burned down home and life remains of this woman who was once a home economics teacher who taught resourcefulness and independence, I fought my way out of the fire of mY Life experiences and emerged stronger, smarter, happier and motivated to remain this way.

Continuing to grow new powerful golden Phoenix feathers.

ThAt is truly experiencing A Force of Nature.

Earth Mama

Kettle – How did you decide on the medium with which you work?

Julia – My medium is Salvage. Some call it mixed media. And technically it is. But it’s more than that. I use 90% salvaged/found materials. Mostly because I was raised by Depression Survivors who taught me to recycle before it was The Thing. I was born with a creative mind so I just sEE the possibilities of shapes, and textures. I am very blessed for this gift. It has supported me for over 25 years. I dO wish I were better at math though.

Heart of Fire

Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for your most recent work?

Julia – When I received the invitation to be a part of The Forces of Nature I went into my piles, drawers and stashes and realized what I had in the photo albums, pieces and parts of The Home Ec Teacher’s Life. An evolution. The entire Life Path all right there. A story. And the obvious moral to that story that kept ringing in my ear was Resurrection. 

I feel so gifted with the opportunity to bring Her back to life. To show the beauty of a single life lived fully. Ending as most would see completely in this fire. Yet her legacy of independence through sustainable creativity rose from the ashes of that fire through the art I was inspired to create.

To mE, thAt is the definition of the Modern Man’s desire for Legacy. For something of us to remain behind to remind The Future of The Past. That all Life is precious and meaningful. To sOMeone.

To sOmeone, we are a Force of Nature.

Guardian Angel

 Kettle – Have you shown at Kettle Art in the past? When? What shows?

Julia – Once before I was invited to show at The Kettle. For The Pillars show. I painted an angel amongst the pillars. I visited all the pillars admiring the art there, and thought all that is needed now are guardian angels. The angel I created is a mash up of several

of my best friends. It was an absolute dream come true to be showing ANYthing at The Kettle. I’ve been an admirer of Franks’ for most of my life. I remember driving to church every day (yes, every day, went to school @ church) as a kid with my parents and seeing the Gypsy Tea Room murals and dreaming of the day I would paint on buildings, beautifying neighborhoods. I get closer to that dream every day. Life is amazing. Seriously.


Kettle – What most intrigues you about your latest show at Kettle Art? Why?

Julia – I began this series knowing it was going to be UN pretty. That I had to let go of my deep seated desire for balance, logic and prettiness because of the types of materials I had to work with. Scorched objects. I had to find a way to make this tragedy sing good news gospel again. I came away with works I am proud of. They are imbued with positive beautiful Love energy. I prayed and sang over these works. They are talismans as much as art. Moving any of these pieces into your life will make a positive difference. They absolutely vibrate with sweetness and light. I travelled with the materials through their process. We came back to life together. During the time I was creating this series I went through a personal alchemy.

I found strength in new boundaries and releasing what I thought was control over many situations in my life and found myself healing some pretty serious long time spiritual injuries. It has been an amazing catalyst on many levels. I’ve met and become friends with some really wonderful people, experienced praise from people whose work I admire. Learned new techniques from trained artists who felt I was doing something worth critiquing. Doors of Wonder began fLYing open the minute I decided on how this series was going to be created.


Midnight Dragonfly

Kettle – How did you approach the work you created for this exhibit?

Julia – With trepidation, total respect and a listening heart.

Midnight Dragonfly (Detail)

Kettle – What do you want viewers to take away from your work at this show?

Julia – That their lives are precious and meaningful. No matter how mundane, troubled, hectic, worthless…enter any word here…that they believe their lives to be, they Are integral. Crucial. Necessary. Important. Somehow. Somewhere.

You never know who you are going to meet that you will help just by bEing.

Please Love your Life. It can be too short, painful, and always challenging.  Without all that angst how are we to know the glory? That’s growing pains. We are here to grow. And someday soon, we will have grown ourselves right up next to God. Right where we always wanted to be anyway…

Barbie Kachina

Kettle – Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through your work?

Julia – Life can be messy, and still be beautiful.


Barbie Kachina

Kettle – What artists have influenced your life & work? Why?

Julia – When I was in 4th grade my art teacher Ms. Chapman told us about how Pablo Picasso used everything around him in his art. How he would draw OVer old art. How he would paint on furniture and how he pulled fabric from the trash bins of the weavers in his neighborhood and use that for painting canvass. Suddenly I had a connection to the mind of Pablo Picasso! I had been doing these things all my little life too. And thAt is when I became an Artist in my mind. That is when I found my identity.

Then I actually began studying the works of Picasso and fell hard for his imperfect perfection. Which allowed me to relax into a style that is mine and separates me from the pack. I am not technically trained. And you can tell. But I like that.

I learned about shape, color, texture, perspective and light through the eye and works of Picasso. I learned about politics and religious pressure. I learned about The Great Illusion.

That this life is just a passing dust mote in a shaft of Sun light. And so it is imperative to enjoy and express joy while we can.

Picasso’s creations say to us that there IS an artist in everyone, if we just keep trying new processes, we’ll find our outlet that defines The Artist within us. Next thing ya know, there’s World Peace!

I read once how Australian Bushmen communicate through song while they are on their spiritual journey, The Walkabout. That they believe every member of their Tribe has their own song. Their own voice, and even language of prayer and song.

That’s what I believe about humans as artisans. We each have an artist living in our souls, we just need keep experimenting till we find our most powerful expression.

Barbie Kachina

Kettle – If you could collaborate with another artist (from the past or present), who would that be & why?

Julia – I would like to have the opportunity to work with the powerful artists of The BauHaus School. Because they were creating with function and sustainability in mind. Sustainability of the spirit of originality and creative interdependence. They were on the precipice of peace through art. Particularly Marianne Brandt. She was a painter, photographer, designer, sculptor, metallurgist…she did EVErything! Creating useful, sustainable, beautiful household objects. Her works were believed to be the harbinger for modern industrial design.

 I feel very blessed to be living in a time and place where The BauHaus Effect is taking place again. Here in Dallas and specifically at The Kettle.

 I would like to work with our local sculptors, muralists, mosaicists, architects and landscapers to be a part of this magic I see happening in Dallas. To develop a  creative sustainability language and movement everyone can understand, learn and express.

Barbie Kachina

Kettle – Describe yourself in 5 words.

Julia – Loved. Supported. Irrepressible. Hopeful. Determined.

Kettle – What 5 words would others use to describe you?

Julia – Creative. Lucky. Energetic. Opinionated. Funny.

Barbie Kachinas

Kettle – What is next for you creatively?

Julia – Currently, I’m working on a mirror mosaic in my home to make a dark hall brighter. I’m developing a Gnome Scene for SEED in July. Producing the art show CooLWaTeRs 3 @ The Kessler Theater on August 13th. I’m working with Lisa Walker to create a dozen hand made Mermaid costumes for The CooLWaTerS Mermaids as well as my own art for the show.

I’m creating a series of Barbie Kachina’s for an Altered Barbie art show in San Fransisco in October. Also there is a creative sustainability curriculum in the works which I hope to introduce in Spring of 2012 through a foundation I’ve become active with.

I am teaching The Styrofoam Art Workshop @ The Dallas Women’s Museum in August.

And I’m always leading The Dream Box Workshop sOMewhere and restoring old furniture I find on the side of the road in my art studio in Palmer, Texas.

“Forces of Nature” is currently showing at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. The show runs through mid-July. Please come by and check out the work in person. You won’t be disappointed.