Obituary | Julie Apap, ceramicist, 1948 - 2011

Ceramicist and artist Julie Apap passed away on Wednesday. She was 62.

Back in 1997, art critic EV Borg described Apap as a “potter of quality,” and her works as “elegant, refined and meticulously finished with an attention to detail… she specialises in functional ware and containers of exquisite craftsmanship and design, with a fine decorative quality that induces the client to acquire a piece to decorate a corner in the house.”

Apart from exhibiting her work in both solo and collaborative exhibitions, Apap also gave lessons at The Pot Studio, situated by the Msida Circus.

Commenting on the creative atmosphere of the studio in a 2002 interview with MaltaToday, Apap said: “Being at the studio does not involve simply creating. I have to recycle used clay from projects which are discarded by myself or my students.

"Then I throw pots (on the wheel) and prepare colours, paints and glazes. It can be quite mundane at times, but the background work is necessary anyhow to enable me to complete anything in the end.”

More recently, Apap took part in the Christmas edition of Patches – The Special Market, and was set to give a talk during a ceramics seminar organised by the Art Discussion Group on March 26 at Hotel Cavalieri, St Julian’s.

Apap worked closely with various artists including Jeni Caruana and Ebba von Fersen Balzan. The latter passed away three years ago on the same date.

Recently, Apap had taken a break from teaching due to heart problems. However, she still kept the studio available to students for glazing and firing.

“Julie was a generous and giving person and teacher who was endlessly patient with her students,” Andrea Pullicino, one of her students, said.

“She had no secrets (except for her signature blue glaze) and shared her knowledge in a free and open manner, something that as students and fellow ceramists we appreciated very much. She had a great heart and a great smile and she will be deeply missed both as a friend and as a ceramist.”

“The first time I got to know Julie, I was a child and she was teaching me pottery as an extra lesson at primary school,” fellow artist and gallery owner Christine Xuereb said.

“More than a few decades later, I got to know her better – although not so well – and only good qualities come to mind. She was a great ceramicist and she persisted to continue creating through her passion.”

Close friend and collaborator Jeni Caruana also acknowledged Apap’s perseverance and joie-de-vivre.

“I often told her that she deserved a sainthood for the patience she had with students, especially children. She even taught mine!” Caruana said.

“She did not allow her heart problems to affect her zest for living her life to the full. She leaves behind not just her husband but two children, seven grandchildren, her brother and her father to grieve, besides many many friends.”

Sad news indeed. May she rest in peace.