Juliann Roush | Episode 893
“My aim is to elevate everyday objects, to make the ordinary just a little more extraordinary.” Juliann Roush is a Northern Michigan based ceramic artist. Juliann began studying pottery in her senior year of college at Eastern Michigan University in 1989 as a way to “kill” some time, but became hooked on the medium. Juliann continued her ceramic education at City College of San Francisco from 1992-1997 where she honed her skills and worked as a lab tech. Initially Juliann’s career trajectory was in International Marketing and Japanese, however keeping her hands in clay has always been a high priority side hustle. Finally in 2019 after moving back to Michigan, Juliann took the leap and became a full time potter. Juliann is a self proclaimed maximalist. Most of her work is handbuilt with slabs and has a very distinct style using lots of texture and bright colors. Often Juliann’s work has a positive encouraging message, giving a little insight into her cheerful personality and joy of making and sharing her methods.
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I noticed a lot of positive messages on your work. What is the point of having a positive spin?
Well, I guess having gone through a bit of trauma the last few years I wasn’t really putting words on my work. It still had a similar feel prior to this. But I really wanted to start manifesting new life for myself and putting light and love and positive energy out into the world. What you put out is what you get back and I feel like if I put out pieces that make other people happy and bring them light it just all comes around.
Have you heard back from your customers the impact the messages have had on them?
Oh my gosh, I get that all the time. They are always sending me pictures. A lot of them aren’t necessarily through Instagram. But they will send me private messages saying, You made my day today. Even thought it’s a year later , I am drinking out of your cup and it makes me so happy. Which is nice.
Why do you take the time to make some of your pieces an interactive piece? Beyond functional?
I don’t know. I have this need to keep adding. First I started adding little buttons. I wanted the texture. And then I was adding little dangly things off the handle and then I started playing with the on/ off switch. That’s a recent thing. I still haven’t got it quite down and I have a worry bead on one of my mugs. I am exploring this high temperature wire and what I can do it with it.
You were running a brick and mortar shop but it seems like the teaching wasn’t giving you time to make your own work.
I felt like that. I mean I enjoy teaching and I still enjoy teaching but on a daily basis I felt like it took too much of my energy and I wasn’t able to be creative.
How is it different now?
I think I am not getting the bored house-wife that is just wanting to try a class. Where now I am getting people who are really interested in pottery and learning the techniques that I have to offer and are interested. Whereas before someone would want to try a class and didn’t want to cut their nails, I don’t know. So I think my audience is changed and I think they are interested in learning and I want to teach people who are interested in learning.
What do you think about this quote? Happiness depends upon ourselves. How does that apply to you as a person recovering from the last few years?
I think happiness depend on yourself. You have to be happy with who you are and be able to be alone and be able to not have to rely on other people for your happiness. I really do believe meditation, exercise, getting out there, playing with clay. You have to be happy with yourself before you can put it out there to the world. What you start putting out, even if you are not happy yet, it starts coming back to you.