Modern sensibilities and vintage charms | Five Questions with Lauren Embree, jewelry maker and artistBanner, Five Questions, News — By Christopher Spencer on September 15, 2010 at 3:27 am
Lauren Embree spent time in the corporate wilderness of Bentonville before leaping into the artisan world of crafting one-of-a-kind jewelry.
The creative call was undeniable and since going independent in 2009, this Hot Springs native has found an audience locally and online for her handmade jewelry.
Uniqueness and tradition are important to Lauren. She can refresh the style of a family heirloom or take recycled and vintage materials and craft something entirely new, paired with natural gemstones.
In much of her work, that marriage of classic style and modern aesthetic is clearly visible. Vintage pieces find new life in new combinations.
We asked her a few questions about her art and what makes it unique.
When did you make your first piece jewelry that someone else paid for (aka Going Pro)? What sort of piece was it?
I’ve been making jewelry for several years as a hobby, occasionally getting paid for my work, so it’s difficult to remember the first. I consider myself “going pro” last summer, after I fell victim to the weak economy and was laid off from my job. There weren’t many opportunities, so I decided to create my own and began making lots of jewelry. I held a kick off party and invited several friends, and my friend Elizabeth wrote me my first check for a necklace. It was a dainty necklace, with fine vintage chain and a small hoop framing a vintage glass bead that was from a necklace I inherited from my great grandmother.
What are some of the main techniques you use to create your art?
Imagination & ingenuity aren’t generally considered technique, but I think in my case they’re some of my greatest skills. When creating mixed media jewelry, I’m constantly working with all sorts of materials that weren’t really meant to go together. Challenges are always arising where I have to not only engineer a solution, but an aesthetically pleasing one at that. The ability to think of creative solutions when working with a variety of mixed materials is a technique I use every day!
Is creating jewelry a craft or a form of art? Does the distinction really matter?
In my opinion, the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Crafting is the method of creating art, the end result. Each piece of jewelry I design is a one of a kind work of art, crafted from recycled vintage and castoff materials. There’s not as much of a distinction as there is a correlation between the two.
Do you make most of your sales in a physical gallery/store, online or through commissioned works?
I’ve found that to be successful in an arts business, you sometimes have to find non traditional avenues to make your product available to the public. Trunk shows, private jewelry parties, craft shows & art walks are just a few events that offer more interaction with your audience, and ultimately can lead to more sales than traditional avenues combined.
Do you think think Fayetteville is moving closer toward an artisan economy that can support diverse creative workers or did the Great Recession kill that inertia?
The dedication and enthusiasm of the creative community in Fayetteville is much stronger than any recession. Building positive relationships between artists & the public is fundamental to raising the value of an artisan economy, and there are several individuals and organizations working in Fayetteville to do just that. Great art comes from tough times, and I think it’s quite evident in the increase in artistic opportunities that Fayetteville will continue to grow & support its creative economy.
- Fayetteville jewelry artist creates collection for Little Rock art gallery | Press Release at 4:27 pm on August 2, 2010
- Fayetteville jewelry designer Lauren Embree celebrates local showroom opening during First Thursday at 3:04 am on January 6, 2011
- Local jewelry artist tries out for Project Runway spinoff, Project Accessory at 12:32 am on June 17, 2011
- Growing the creative economy | Clipped Fresh at 4:23 pm on September 14, 2009
- Fayetteville Gallery Guide released | Opinion at 3:40 pm on July 8, 2010
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