In my travels to various shows and events I am fortunate to get to meet many different vendors, company reps, entrepreneurs and artists. Julie from 16.3 Stemware is one of those lucky discoveries. I met Julie at her booth the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover 2016. Her booth was small and unassuming, but her work couldn’t help but catch my eye. She was selling commissioned painted stemware to participants and audience alike and I was impressed by her attention to detail on such a tricky medium as a curved piece of glass. I knew I had to do a spotlight on her and her incredible work for Decidedly Equestrian to share with all of you. I hope you enjoy looking at her work as much as I did!
What made you start painting on glasses? It’s a very different and interesting medium.
It actually started with a close friend’s dog passing away. A group of us would get together every week for a wine night and with all of us being the animal lovers we are, our dogs were always included as well. I wanted to do something special for my friend that still kept the spirit of Aubrey alive. She was always a part of our weekly wine night and I wanted her to continue to be included so Aubrey was my first wine glass that I painted. The idea kind of took off from there.
I’ve always had an interest in art and I’ve experimented with many different mediums over the years, traditional and non-traditional. I have painted on canvas before as well as watercolor paper. I have also done work in colored pencil, graphite, charcoal, etc. over the years.
Did you go to school for art? How did you end up starting 163 Stemware?
I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. In high school, I took art classes both in and outside of school.
After I painted my first glass, I started getting requests from other people to paint their horse or dog and it kind of took off from there, thus 16.3 Stemware was born.
What kind of paints do you use?
I use a special multi-purpose acrylic made for glass. After I complete a painting, I cure the paint by baking each glass to insure it’s durability.
Do you do all of your portraits from photographs?
Yes, all of the portraits I paint are from photographs.
How did the horse become one of your primary subjects?
I currently own 5 horses myself, so being in the horse community I started to reach out and advertise the glasses to other equestrians and I received an amazing response. Horses are definitely the number one subject I paint but I also do dogs, cats, even donkeys and cows.
What is your creative process? How do you get inspired?
I’m really inspired by the photos sent to me and a lot of the times I also get a story about the horse, dog, etc. Whether it’s a gift for a friend, family member or a personal gift, they’ll tell me a bit of a back story about the animal. Whether it’s a memorial piece or a favorite animal, I love receiving feedback on how much people love their glasses.
How long does it take you to complete one of your portrait glasses from start to finish? Have you ever broken one and had to start over? I can see that being a problem
I spend hours on each glass. Depending on the complexity, the time can vary. I strive to deliver a life-like portrait that is extremely detailed in every piece I paint.
Believe it or not there has only been one or two broken pieces (knock on wood)! I pack each glass extremely well for shipping and have never had a piece delivered damaged. I have even shipped across the world to Australia and Singapore.
What is your history with horses? Tell us a little bit about the most important horses in your life.
I have always had a love for horses. I took lessons as a child for a few years but then my parents wanted me to concentrate on art since I was looking at that as a major. After graduating college, I got back into riding and eventually owning my own horse. I couldn’t have just one and it took off from there. I really have a passion for Thoroughbreds. All of my personal horses have been OTTBs and I currently breed. I love all of my horses and they have taught me a lot over the years. I’d have to say my strongest connection is with my broodmare, Cori Ella.
Do you have any plans for future products?
I have focused on the glasses since I started 16.3 Stemware, but this year I’d like to do some paintings on canvas and watercolor as well. I’m thinking of offering high quality prints as well as the originals for sale.
How did you end up with a booth at the RRP?
I actually was researching some different shows where I could be a vendor and the RRP was one that I came across. Being so passionate about the Thoroughbred breed, it was a no-brainer to be a part of and support such a great cause! I have had a booth at both the 2015 and 2016 RRP. I love that it’s bringing awareness and I love to see the growth and success of it!
How can DE readers purchase your work?