"From the time I was a small girl in East Tennessee, I imagined forms in tree branches, clouds and other natural objects around me. Although I had the spirit of an artist from that early age, opportunities to study art were limited during my childhood. My formal art training began in college, where I was awarded the first Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Sculpture from the University of Tennessee. During the first ten years of my career, I welded art objects, building solid forms from flat sheets of steel. As a diversion from welding one day, I decided to complete a sculpture of Tennessee marble, which I had roughed out using only a hammer and chisel while in college. When I began to polish the stone and the beautiful qualities of coloration, veining and composition were revealed, I never had a desire to return to welding.
Today, I continue the extremely physical, direct-carving process of working stone. I use hand, pneumatic and electric tools, removing the stone and creating various shapes -- some times creating organic “form for form’s sake,” and at other times, producing abstract, figurative pieces. When producing a commissioned work, I respond to the wishes of the client in developing an image or shape. After roughing out the stone, I spend hours grinding, sanding and polishing the flowing open surfaces. Many hours are spent with hand sanding as I push for a highly refined, smooth finish. My inspiration comes from personal relationships, the wonders of nature, and marvelous sculptures from around the world. I admire the entire spectrum of art from the old masters to contemporary artists, as well as many fine ethnic expressions.
The sculptures I create range in size from tabletop pieces, usually placed in private homes, to monumental works for corporate offices and public facilities. Several of my stone works have been cast in bronze. They are produced by a metal foundry through a complex process of making a mold from the original stone form, pouring and refining the sculptural shape, and using a chemical technique to create the desired patina and finish. I use a variety of patinas in giving character and color to the bronzes. With their lustrous patinas, often the bronzes are mistaken for stone."
-Julie Warren Conn