Brooklyn based artist, Julianne Ahn is the woman behind the handmade, one-of-a-kind ceramic line Object and Totem. Her work is inspired by "the nuances of meditation formed between geometry and the raw mechanics of matter". Object and Totem draws on the importance of functionality while also maintaining a beautiful individuality - which is hard to come by in today's ceramic world.
Julianne shares with us the way motherhood and self-care influence one another, and on her own inspiration as an artist.
Our shop muse, Georgia O’Keeffe epitomized our ethos of self-care for strength and creativity - how important is self-care for supporting your creativity?
Early on as an art student, I remember how disheveled I’d look after putting long nights in the studio and having it be somewhat acceptable to look like a hard-working student because almost everyone looked that way. But now if I walk out on the street and try to pull that off, I don’t think I’d get any kind of respect whatsoever.
The first year I was a mom, I’d congratulate myself for walking out of the house with matching socks so the past year and a half has been more about getting those 6-8 hours of sleep every night in order to get the most out of my day in and out of the studio.
"I’ve become way more practical and prefer to invest in quality things that last a lot longer. Moderation is always important."
How has motherhood shaped your view of self-care?
The obvious thing that changed the most for me as a mom and probably for most moms is the significance of time. I’ve often wondered what I did with all that time before I had my son and now when I find myself with more of it, it feels a little strange, but when you have less of it, you’d rather not waste it. I’ve become way more practical and prefer to invest in quality things that last a lot longer. Moderation is always important.
Much of your work draws on minimal/intentional design - how do you incorporate intentional living into your life, apart from Object and Totem?
Having a son who loves reading time and requires a lot of attention makes me ignore my phone a lot which is nice because I can feel present more often than before. I also find cooking with my husband is a really pleasant way to unwind the day instead of rushing to put food on the table.
What women inspire strength, creativity, and/or intentional living to you and why?
Aside from my mother - who is incredibly inspiring the more I am a mother and look back on her life raising my siblings and me, a Korean immigrant working night shifts as a nurse - I’m inspired by my friend and artist, Mimi Jung. I spent some time in her home a while back when I was in Los Angeles and was completely taken aback by the level of detail throughout every corner. It’s how you might imagine living in a museum. You can see every object and surface was hand chosen by someone who has an undeniable love for art and design from the perfectly worn Sheila Hicks book on the beautiful coffee table right down to the white glass dog bowls.
Lena Corwin is also someone I’ve been following as a creative for a long time. I’m just always completely visually comforted by her way of documenting and making. It feels very modern and almost Shaker-esque too, the way nothing stands out too much and is very utilitarian but inviting in a way that always feels very fresh to me.