Julie Elkins puts her own spin on Cicero's warnings of tempests in teapots.
Elkins, a local sculptor, depicts the darker side of Richmond through her handmade porcelain teapots, which she calls "miniature apocalyptic remnants." The macabre scenes fashioned on the pots come straight from the streets of Richmond — and Elkins' imagination. Some teapots capture obscure alleyways; others show the downtown skyline.
Elkins says the twisted and tormented shapes of her teapots are supposed to elicit reaction, but she also points out the beauty that pops forth from the decrepit scenes. Her brushwork colors skeletal briars that poke out of dusky skies amid a mishmash of urban graffiti. "They're haunted, they're kind of spooky," says Elkins of her work. "There's evidence that this is where people lived, but I don't sculpt people in them because I feel like when you put people in there it becomes more like a dollhouse, and when you take them out you can put yourself in there."
Elkins' fascination with creating alternate worlds began with childhood dioramas. She honed her abilities at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she received a bachelor's degree of fine arts in 2003. She began sculpting during her junior year of college and made her hobby into a profession. She now works out of a studio in Manchester's Plant Zero.
Her teapots stand no more than 15 inches tall. One can take up to a month to craft, and most sell for around $1,000. Elkins sells them at her studio, and she takes commissions. For more information, visit www.gaptoothstudios.com or call 366-0291.