Born in Seattle, Washington, Speidel studied at the University of Washington, University of Grenoble in France and the Cornish Institute in Seattle. As a teenager, she lived in the British Isles and was fascinated by the prehistoric ruins she saw in England, Ireland, and Scotland, including the stone monoliths at Newgrange and Stonehenge. Her work in both bronze and stone reflects the primitive nature of these structures and others she found on wide travels throughout Europe and Asia. Before becoming a sculptor, she was a jewelry designer. From her studio on a picturesque island off Seattle, Speidel works in bronze, stone, glass and wood to create art that graces collections throughout the world. Her sculptures engage an extraordinary array of cultural influences, reaching back through antiquity to the stone and bronze-age peoples of Europe, the early Buddhists of China, the indigenous tribes of her native Pacific Northwest and on into 21st century modernism. Speidel’s inspiration draws, in part, from her connection as a child with the ancient megaliths she encountered living in Europe. Regionally Speidel is represented by Caldwell Snyder Gallery. She lives on Vashon Island, Washington.
Krukis, God of Blacksmiths
At the age of 12 I moved with my mother and my sister Marion to Spain, to the island of Mallorca. My sister and I would take long bike rides exploring the countryside and I saw my first megalithic standing stones there. Marion, who was seven at the time, could fit into the short empty Roman graves or sarcophagi, cut out of the barren stone hills. It directly linked me to the people of the past. This was a new awareness, an important moment. The awe and wonder of the stones is still with me. The Ancients erected stones in powerful places. I seek out these sacred sites in my travels. To be standing out in the land, and to allow the sense of these sites to flow into me feeds me in a special way.
(Julie Speidel, 2011)
Internationally-known author Michael Meade wrote this about Speidel's work: Julie Speidel sees the language of essential forms and the grammar of minerals and stones that anchor the memories of this earth. She speaks back the language of creation with modern standing stones that help to anchor the present to the past and continue the song of creation. Her eloquence bends bronze and causes it to stand up and talk to you, inviting you to touch the old / new shapes and remember the essential languages that break the spells of time and open the landscapes of memory and creation...
(Michael Meade, 2008)