Julie Lamp follows where her interests lead her.
A Chicago area native, she majored in English and German at Northwestern University and then taught high school German for three years. But she gave that up to own and operate a small electronics company with her first husband. The company manufactured custom coils.
After the couple split, she went to work for the Dr. Scholl Foundation as an administrative assistant for four years.
When she married a German man she’d known for 40 years through a wine-tasting group, they moved to Keowee Key, South Carolina. Lamp was employed for awhile but then retired. “I decided I didn’t move here to work,” she said. “It’s better to look at the lake.”
After discovering that her builder’s wife is a master basketweaver, Lamp took some classes and joined the Upper South Carolina Basketmakers Guild. Since then, she has made over 200 reed baskets, many of her own design. Sometimes she weaves yarn, seashells, dried glasses, beads, or other natural materials into the baskets, which are made from materials she orders online from Southeast Asia. She has sold about a third of her creations at the annual Keowee Key Craft Show.
Lamp has also dabbled in pastels and watercolors, and she currently is most enthusiastic about photography. She has traveled widely—to Alaska, Norway, Italy, France, and Germany, among other places—and seeks out candid shots of individuals whose permission she secures first. “I like close-ups,” she said. “I hate pictures of people’s backs.”
She edits photos with a program called ON1 Photo RAW, sometimes combining photos, and prints them on a Canon Pro 100 printer.
She serves her local arts community as secretary of the Blue Ridge Arts Center.
Whatever new passion comes next, Lamp has no plans to relocate. “I love South Carolina,” she said. “The people are so open and friendly. They tell me their whole life story when I go to Walmart.”