GALA ARTISTS EXHIBITION: Julie McNair & Charlotte Jorgensen


Daniel Tucker Gallery
Opening Reception during ArtWalk on Thursday, January 4, 2018 from 5-8pm.


For many years I have explored the figure in my work. It has now become my primary format, my canvas. I choose standing figures because I like the vulnerability – physically fragile clay and emotionally fragile humans.

I live in the mountains and spend much of my free time camping in wilderness areas. My connection to and love of nature inspire many of the figures. The mystery of the natural world around us is ample information for images and metaphors.

The free standing figures are approximately three feet in height. The forms are coiled and fired in an electric kiln to cone 1. In some, I use press molds to create the patterned surfaces. Most of the finishes start with colored slips. Trained as a metal worker, I developed a post-firing finish that is more like a patina. The porous surface enables the absorption of oil-based pigments. Many layers may be applied and then tarnished with a torch and printed newspapers. After the surface hardens, I may apply Briwax and burnish with the torch.

Most recently I have made clay forms which hang on the wall. Many are multiples from press molds, allowing for more experimentation with surface handling. The multiples also allow for more interaction between forms, allowing interested buyers to play a part in content and esthetics. I have been experimenting with various mixed media finishes for over 40 years and at this point, anything goes! Work has become play again…my primary objective.

Working with a multitude of media including metal, printmaking, clay and painting has made me a true mixed media artist. While the figures are ceramic, the overlap of art disciplines helps to make each piece unique, and my creative process full of discovery.


I was born in Florida in 1951, the fourth girl in a family of six children. With the confidence and spirit my parents’ lives unwittingly sparked in me, and with the sense of belonging in the natural world that I gained from a childhood spent mostly outside, it makes sense that I would explore new terrain. The summer after my sophomore year of college in Virginia, I signed on for one of the first Colorado Outward Bound School courses offered to women- 28 days backpacking in the mountains. I had planned to major in literature. After the Outward Bound course I changed my major to Biology and transferred my senior year to CU. When I graduated I moved around a bit, worked as an Outward Bound instructor, an elementary school teacher , a laborer for an adobe construction crew, a nurse’s aid. I went back to school to study medicine and became a Physician’s Assistant. My first job as a P.A. was in a Navajo clinic in New Mexico. Three remarkable Navajo women worked with me as Clinic Aids, and each Wednesday afternoon one of them assisted me on home visits. It was my favorite day at work. We drove miles and miles on dirt roads in a dust colored Dodge Ramcharger…past sage brush and sparse grass where grandmothers, dressed in skirts of ocher, scarlet, or purple velvet, herded their sheep, and over sandstone mesas dotted with juniper and pinon pine trees.

Throughout these adventures I periodically kept a hybrid naturalist’s journal/ diary, with sketches, water colors and text. These journals were my first art teachers, and the more I painted, the more I wanted to paint. After almost two years on the Navajo Nation I moved back to Colorado.  I married and stayed home to raise our son. By the time he was 3 or 4 he could recognize wild rose hips and knew they were edible. While staying home I began devoting more time to natural history and to art.

The artists will be featured at our Annual New Year’s Eve Gala, where the Daniel Tucker Gallery is transformed into a formal dining room for a four-course, plated, sit-down dinner catered by one of Telluride’s exceptional chefs.

Here’s a preview of the beautiful work (all items are for sale, call to inquire):