I recently did a course in marbling on paper. It was in The Factory of Art & Design foundation in Copenhagen, and taught by the sweetest Julie. Together with Anne-Sophie Rosenvinge she runs MarbleMatter, which is an educational design studio, specialising in pigments, prints and teaching.

Name:
Julie Bak

Age:
30

Occupation:

Teacher & self taught artisan

Currently living in:
Barcelona

What makes you happy?

Camping with my dog in the mountains, figuring out a puzzle I have worked on for while (e.g. how to make inks float) and spending time with my three brothers.

Where do you find inspiration?

It is something that kind of just happens. My work does not exist in a vacuum. It is intertwined with everything else i do. I will take my dog for a walk and pick some flowers that I’ll then use for a workshop later on. I realised at an early age that my life works the best without too many boundaries between work and pleasure. I think this approach has been a key component in nurturing my inspiration. Regardless, I really enjoy historical manuals on how to make your own artistic materials. I also spend time on instagram and pinterest trying to keep up with the world and finally I think teaching inspires me to improve and adjust what I do.

When did you realize that you were going to start MarbleMatter?

It was something that snuck up on me. I had just finished my master and decided not to go along with the PhD. I was pretty much floating around, trying out everything from call center work, print making, babysitting, admin and teaching. It probably took me about two years to create a sustainable situation where the work I enjoyed was also the work I made money from. I only really started calling my projects MarbleMatter about two years ago.

How do you begin a new project?

I often find that one project leads to another. For instance, I started marbling and then suddenly I found myself in the world of natural dye. It was not the plan but rather my interests in mordants that drew me from one world to another.

Where’s your favourite place to work from?

My tiny studio-storage room with no sunlight. Simply because this is where everything I need is!

 

 

Describe an experience you had, that confirmed you in, why you are doing what you do.

I think the first couple of times I taught, both English and workshops, I intuitively knew that this is my element. Before that I always thought I was going to do a PhD, host focus groups and write a lot of papers.

Name one women who inspired you on your creative journey?

Ever since high school Anne-Sophie Rosenvinge and I have been best friends. We have done a lot of projects together. Let this be anything from travelling to taking photos in squatted buildings. It was therefore very natural for me to include her in Marble Matter early on. She is now a big part of the Copenhagen workshops and a lot of other projects. I always feel very inspired and full of ideas whenever we collaborate. My conversations with her are definitively the single biggest source of inspiration.

Which challenges have you met in your work?

An infinite number. It is just the name of the game when you work for yourself. Everything from money to self-confidence has been a challenge one way or another (and sometimes still is). In the beginning it was really hard to receive an email with a “no” or not make the amount of money you hoped for. But I slowly realized that these “failures” are also a great insight into how I can improve. And frankly, there is absolutely no shame is supplementing your “passion work” with some less attractive side gigs. I still do this on a off, which removes a lot of pressure from my creative practice.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

It’s okay not to get an academic degree and instead do something with your hands. I went to a school where my entire cohort decided to go to high school and then later on university. Doing something manual never seemed like an option. I implemented this idea into my vision of the future. It was only when I stood with the diploma in my hands that I realized that this might not be the type of life I wanted to lead.

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