a studio visit to Julie Cloutier

A few weeks ago I drove north to Sonoma, wine country, to meet Julie Cloutier in her magical studio, nested in the middle of the vineyards and the green meadows. I love doing these day trips by myself and especially if I get to visit new artists!


photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon


Julie Cloutier is an artist who focuses on ceramics and paintings. She was born in Canada but has lived in California for the last eighteen years. Spending a decade of her life studying architecture and working for some small firms, made her feel that she has to do something with her hands and she started taking ceramics classes in the evenings.


She did it for a few years, while living in San Francisco, until six years ago she decided to get her own space and start doing ceramics as a business. Leaving her city life behind, three years ago she moved north to Tomales and then to Sonoma county. Cloutier called herself a homey person. As a child she always wanted to draw and build things and today in her house she is drawing, and downstairs she is creating in her ceramics studio.


photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon

photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon

photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon

photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon


Drawing and painting for her is experimental, something free and quick that she can sit down in her home and do for half hour, while the ceramics work is a very long process which takes a few weeks to finish.

Cloutier is attracted to anying about earth, in both of her paintings and ceramics, She gets inspiration from all the different forms of earth: Soil, rocks, stones, concrete. Looking at her paintings you can see connecting threads between the ceramics work and paintings, as most of her painted subjects are rocks.


photo by Julie Cloutier


photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon


Another source of inspiration for her came from her studies in architecture. From planning a whole city to creating a street and then a house and a door handle, zooming into the small details. Her ceramic-ware is characterized with minimalistic lines, she doesn't use color, just the color of the clay. Her outlet for color is when she makes watercolor paintings.


When living in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco, Cloutier had a project called Sunset Side Walks where she documented the neighborhood's side walks. Recently she transformed her photos into minimalistic ceramics tiles.


photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon


when she moved to Sonoma county she had a backyard with fruit trees and she was curious to discover what kind of fruit these trees will give her. She was drawing especially pears for a few years, exploring the shapes, colors and what she can make with all of these fruits!

she also teaches diffrent workshops of water color painting.


Her table-ware ceramics focus on the functional side and making everyday objects, leaving her fingerprints on the inside and smoothing the outside. She's always testing her new creations at home before selling them.


photo by Julie Cloutier

photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon


In her studio she has a special corner for sculptures and other experiments, where she sometimes plays with a touch of color. In the end, all of her experiments, shapes and sculptures become functional products with a playful touch.


photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon

photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon

photo by Inbal Ithachi Hayon


Thank you for your time Julie, I really enjoyed hearing your unique story and path of creativity. I love your minimal and delicate lines of work, I'll try to take some quietness back with me to the city, for sure!