Artist Julie Mars Reflects on the Joy of Creating Highly Reflective, Sustainable 3D Bead Work
Roselle, IL artist, Julie Mars, poses with her work -- "ARCTIC ICE SHEET" -- convex security mirror topped with decorative glass bead mosaic design. Scroll down to see more of Julie's art pieces...
Many of Julie Mars’ art projects begin with a treasure hunt. By exploring thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets and other second-hand sources, Julie finds glass or mirrored items that are just the right shape and size to upscale into a unique piece of shimmering art.
Preferring to work with highly reflective surfaces like large, circular convex security mirrors or glass globe vases, she weaves her favorite sized glass beads to create an intricate mosaic to layer on top. She uses off-loom weaving techniques like the peyote stitch, and then glass paint to act as a clear adhesive when affixing it to the substrate.
While studying at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute, she focused on 3D and sculptural work. In her 20s, she started experimenting by decorating small jars, but the finished result was too craft-like for her taste. So, she decided to start scaling up in size.
“I really like how light passes through the glass bead mosaic pattern on top and then bounces around through my work and out again,” Julie explains. “It makes the finished effect extra luminous. As the light changes throughout the day – so does its reflectivity. They’re so much fun to make.”
Julie’s Artist Statement explains more…
My love for glass and reflective acrylic beads comes from the diverse colors, lusters, translucencies, and other optical effects they offer. Recently, I have been working on installations and a series of woven bead mosaics on convex mirrors, exploring new possibilities in my chosen medium.
…My work is driven by a deep passion for environmentalism and the beauty that can be found in repurposing used items. I strive to create pieces that not only bring aesthetic pleasure through innovative design but also inspire others to reflect on the impact of their choices on the environment.
Through my bead mosaics, I hope to spark a dialogue around sustainable art, and to demonstrate that post-consumer materials can be transformed into something truly beautiful. Ultimately, my goal is to promote a more mindful and eco-conscious approach to art and consumption.
Julie has over 25 years of experience as an artist, gallerist, and museum administrator. Currently, she works at the Addison Center for the Arts as Communications Director, where she fosters and promotes arts in the western suburbs.
She accepts commissions and her weaving techniques can be found on a YouTube tutorial that she created here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n0ZxzVToLo&t=37s
Her work is currently part of the Addison Art Guild’s 2023 Fall Members’ Show, 213 N. Lombard Road, Door 4, Addison, IL on display now through December 9, 2023. Additional pieces are on exhibit at the Epiphany Center for the Arts, Chicago Sculpture International, 201 S. Ashland, Chicago; Art Events - Epiphany Center for the Arts (epiphanychi.com)
For more information about Julie’s work, visit her website at: JAM FINE ARTS - Home
Blue Star" bead mosaic on a preowned mercury vase
"Flat Earth" Bead weaving on a shallow clear glass bowl.
"So Long and Thanks for All the Fish" Bead Mosaic of Dolphins on a preowned fishbowl.
"Honeymoon Panopticon" woven hearts of reflective and glass bead mosaics on a convex safety mirror.
"Solar Panels" Bead mosaic on two 30 x 40 panels with solar light elements
"Galaxy Cluster" Bead mosaic on a preowned globe vase
"Thaw" -- glass beads on convex security mirror.