If eyes are the window to the soul, then what can we learn from Julia Brenner’s portrait? Julia is a multifaceted russian artist living with a sense of intention and energy in her home in Portugal where she produces the most exquisite ceramics and pottery.
Her life and home reflect some of the key principles of slow living, freedom seeking, cultivating community, reclaiming time for what matters most: creativity, nature, essentials.
Defined by its instantly recognizable aesthetic, Julia Brenner has a unique vision of freedom and contemporary culture. She talks with us about her most cherished creative practice, about spirituality and her very own vision about life.
Julia, who are you?
I’m from Russia - that big magnificent and powerful country with a huge history :). From a small town by the Sea of Azov :)
I moved from Spain to Portugal two years ago with my husband Tiago who is Portuguese. We left everything in Spain and jumped into the unknown with a little camping trailer where we spent two years before we built our wooden house. It was really challenging and made us stronger.
And it pushed me to work in a different way and to develop my creativity. It’s also nostalgic at some moments because I can’t visit my country as much as I want. I think it’s reflected in my work. There’s some melancholic mood there.
What is your inspiration? Where do you nurture your soul, your creativity?
I take a lot of inspiration from nature and its gifts. I practice a lot by noticing what is around me and sometimes a simple rock or grass can make me feel happy.
I always appreciate the textures and shapes of nature. It’s something that makes me stop. I can’t pass by, can’t run. Nothing brings me more growth than the possibility to slow down and reflect, do some analyzing work.
You refer to Ceramics and pottery being your true passion. Could you tell us more about it?
Absolutely. Ceramics is the best meditation I’ve ever tried. That’s a very unique connection I feel when working with clay. I went once to a pottery masterclass in Moscow and fell in love forever. Then I went to a pottery school in Barcelona where I learned more techniques with a grog clay that I love most of all now. It’s also known as chamotte. Pottery makes me feel connected with myself, nature, the moment of here and now. And I slow down. I think to be a good ceramist you need to be natural in this. Like in any other thing you choose to do in your life. It needs to come from your heart, not to be faked. It’s really a grounded creative process. And I think there’s a big difference between industrial crafts and ceramics that are made slowly and often one of a kind.
What is your personal vision about love?
It’s you. Yourself. You are made of love :) And it’s the biggest source for everything.
Could you share your point of view about spirituality?
Spirituality for me is a difficult question right now. Lately, I’m questioning everything I knew before and becoming an empty book where I can write the story again. I used to call myself a spiritual warrior and then I thought “What does it actually mean for me?”. And I arrived at the conclusion that the only thing I know is that I don’t know anything. And now it’s a question of what I choose to believe in. One thing stays clear: I need to follow my heart. The spirit is in it, that’s for sure :).
Your vision about sustainability and ethics?
For me, sustainability is something that is made slowly, with love and care. I love balance in everything. And I believe in an ethical fashion where only natural materials are used.
Your relationship with fashion?
I only own clothes that I use and really love. I don’t consume much and I don’t follow trends. I just want my clothes to be comfortable, authentic, and to last.
Florenz's collection in a few words?
Simple, soft and warm :) Really elegant!