Maine Artist Fellowship, Belvedere Craft

  • December 19, 2023

Julie Morringello | Deer Isle, ME

Photos by Dan Rajter 

Instagram: @modernmaine

Artist Statement: 

I consider my lights to be fundamentally sculptural objects. I spend a lot of time exploring shape and proportion through the use of full-scale mockups. I constantly experiment with materials and fabrication techniques, whether organic, synthetic, traditional, or non-traditional. At the same time, my lights are functional, which requires a consideration of the user and setting, a knowledge of architecture and interior design, engineering, electricity, and so on. Dwelling in this ever-shifting mix of concerns is what energizes and excites me. I’m most gratified when I’m able to make all of these elements come together in a way that feels surprising and effortless, and blurs the boundaries of functionality and aesthetics. The embrace of these (apparent) contradictions is the basis of my studio name, Modernmaine. 


Julie Morringello creates sculptural lighting on Deer Isle under the studio name Modernmaine. For Julie, lighting is a means of scratching an interdisciplinary itch: her work embraces the hands-on expressiveness of the artist and craftsperson, as well as the innovation and problem-solving of the designer. She experiments with a wide array of materials and construction processes. While she readily employs the use of digital technology, all of her lights are ultimately made by hand in her studio, and the slight imperfections inherent in that process give them a warm and organic quality. Julie studied industrial and furniture design at Rhode Island School of Design. After receiving her MFA, she became a founding member of a five-person cooperative artist studio in a defunct textile mill New Bedford, MA. There she made studio furniture for galleries and commissions. In 2000 she moved to Maine, after serving several stints as a teaching assistant at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. She founded Modernmaine in 2011. In addition to her studio practice, Julie has taught design and woodworking to people of all ages and abilities in settings such as RISD, the Nemasket Group, the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Worcester Center for Crafts, and Haystack. She has exhibited her work widely in galleries as well as craft and trade shows, such as the Philadelphia Fine Furniture Show (Best of Show), The Society of Arts and Crafts (2017 Artist Award), the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in NYC and the Salon du Meubles in Paris. Julie currently lives in Stonington with her husband, fellow artist Eugene Koch, and their daughter, Mitike, and corgi, Fred. 



On winning a Maine Artist Fellowship

I could not be more thrilled to be the 2023 recipient of the Belvedere Craft Award. I am very grateful to the Maine Arts Commission for the support and recognition, and feel it is especially valuable for artists who live and in rural areas. Thank you! I plan to use the award for the creation of new work and professional photography. I have recently begun a new series of standing lights. These lights are larger than my current work and use much more material. I’ve also been experimenting with how to illuminate their interiors evenly using LEDs. This kind of experimentation is expensive and the award is a both a timely and welcome source of support. And of course, good photos are worth their weight in gold.

Visit Julie Morringello's Website


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Maine Arts Commission

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333