Artist Julie Billups
I am a West Michigan artist that derives my inspiration from the seemingly widely divergent sources of industrial decay and color. Crumbling concrete, peeling paint and rusting metals all appeal to me. Juxtaposed with the bright colors of an abstract painting or the vivid aquas of Northern Michigan lakes.
My process is a bit unordinary using sintered steel and vitreous enamels contrasted with gemstones set in silver and gold. I begin with fine steel metal powder combined with an organic binder. This is mixed with water to create a material that can be formed into shapes. After forming and texturizing, it goes into a kiln at high temperature for 6 hours. This burns off the binder material and fuses metal particles into solid steel pieces. Powdered glass vitreous enamel is mixed, applied in multiple layers, and kiln fired to fuse glass to the surface. The enamel can then be further etched and abraded to give patina. Finally, steel pieces are combined with silver, gold and gemstones for finished works! Watching the way that inspiration combines with raw materials to create beautiful, unique pieces that spark joy in my customers is my favorite part of creating jewelry.
I originally art school at the University of Michigan but then went on to have a 30 year career as an Oral Surgeon. One of the first women tp practice this specialty in my state. I have been creating and selling my jewelry for the last 7 years But after recently retiring from my surgical career I am now focusing solely on creating art and jewelry, spending time with my family and two german shepherds, and exhibiting my jewelry in fine art fairs and in galleries.