an artist fascinated by nature !
Born in Australia, Juliet Schlunke began drawing and painting very young. In 1967 she studied in Sydney with John Olsen, one of Australia’s most famous painters. She then exhibited in several local galleries. From 1976 on, she showed her work in Madrid where she was then living. She opened a restaurant in 1981 and decorated it with her hand-painted fabrics; this led to another career working in decoration.
- Between 1988 and 1993 she collaborated with Gérard Bach, a decorator in Geneva, painting her designs on fabrics, floors and walls.
- In 1990 she signed a contract with Nobilis of Paris to design furnishing fabrics. Her first collection, “Villa del Sol”, was launched in 1993 at the Biennale des Editeurs de la Décoration, in the Grand Palais, Paris.
- During the following years, she designed other fabric collections for Nobilis, Pierre Frey, Boussac, Lelièvre, Etamine, Zimmer & Rohde, etc.
She also designed for porcelain and ceramic manufacturers: Laure Japy (Limoges), Lunéville, and Williams-Sonoma in the U.S.A.
In 1997, having settled in the Luberon region, she started producing modelled ceramics. Her creations were shown at the “Vivre Coté Sud” salon in Saint Tropez, and the boutique of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris commissioned her ceramics. Editions Parole published her first book Rosenthal, une enfance Australienne in 2008, then La Dryade in 2013, and Pourquoi Partir in 2019. Thames and Hudson Australia published Buns in the Oven: John Olsen’s Bakery Art School in 2016. She has established her gallery/studio in Ansouis, in the southern Luberon, which is classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
Juliet S :
« When I arrived in the Luberon in 1997, one of my neighbours happened to be a potter, Philippe Duriez, with whom I struck up a friendship. Having seem my paintings and textile designs, all based on nature (fruit, plants, trees), he suggested that I try producing these subjects in three dimensions. He generously opened the doors of his workshop to me and I thus discovered the world of ceramics.
After giving me valuable advice (mostly what not to do), he let me experiment with different types of clay until I found the one which suited me: a smooth reddish-brown clay from the region of Barcelona.
My first attempts at making dishes decorated with fruit were clumsy, but I progressed quickly and soon began to enjoy working with clay. It is a very sensual and calming experience.
At this time I was designing furnishing fabrics for Nobilis. I showed them my white ceramic bowls and plates, and they were placed in their windows in the Rue Bonaparte, Paris; it was an elegant festive table setting.
Afterwards, I sold my ceramics to the boutique of the Decorative Arts Museum and I had the pleasure of seeing my works in their windows on the Rue de Rivoli.
I decided to continue glazing my ceramics in white; this was a perfect finish for all the pieces I wished to create and went well with all types of interiors.
Once the objects are dry, I fire them at a temperature of 1020° for 8 hours. Then I dip them in a lead- free white glaze, so that these ceramics can be safely used for food. I dilute the glaze so that you can glimpse the colour of the clay beneath. Then they are fired again for 8 hours at the same temperature; it is quite a long process.
A while ago some clients asked me if I could make a coloured artichoke for them. This was a challenge; after the first firing I coloured the artichoke with acrylics, as if I were painting a still life. To fix the paint, I applied a coat of beeswax, which gave a nice satin sheen.
Soon after, other clients commissioned coloured pieces, and my new collection “Trompe l’oeil”, was launched!
My gallery is in the main street of Ansouis, as is the excellent restaurant La Closerie. The owners commissioned black aubergines to decorate their tables, and so another new collection was created! Pears, figs… all painted black, then waxed.
I am happy to present my new creations which you can see on my website.
Hoping to see you soon in my studio/gallery in the charming village of Ansouis which I love so much.».