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Lauren K Blair

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
I have been creating for as long as I can remember.
What is your medium of choice?
I work in a variety of media: paint, mosaic, "mixed media," fiber, jewelry: largely working on human-scale functional objects.
What are your motivations for creating?
Looking back, as a child I was fascinated by creating spaces, enclosures, environments for dolls, bugs, stuffed animals...It's funny to say but I was exposed to found object assemblage and creative recycling at the age of 8 or 9 by my then, 3rd grade teacher, Mr. Rawich. I remember putting together small houses and structures out of those old computer data cards with all the little punchouts, and plastic bits. I started saving miscellaneous bits myself...Going through school I loved home ec. and again, brought those skills home and thought of new projects to tackle. It's all about nesting, creating something to live with. Something about those memories, they're still active in my mind/soul/body somewhere today when I create; something about the functional, home-related aspects of my work seems to echo this early preoccupation with interior spaces. To answer the question another way though, quite often I see some piece of junk and in my minds' eye it's transformed into something new and magical. The form or decoration or size of some random thing at the thrift shop or construction site or flea market calls out to me that there's still life in that object and it should be saved from oblivion. Beyond that, occassionally people pass off some of their old crap to me and I get funky with it...Necessity *is* the mother of invention.
What other artists and movements inform your work?
Although my work follows neither movement or style, I am informed and inspired by art nouveau and the arts and crafts movement. I have a bad ceramic fetish, especially early century production ceramics and I think the Roseville style has some influence on some of my work. I might in fact be a frustrated ceramicist - my fascination of late with portland cement and my hunger for that permanence...Georgia O'Keefe and Paul Klee are somewhere in there too.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
I am always stimulated by color. I am definately influenced by season, fashion, da street, whathaveyou. Some of the nicest work I've seen recently have been throw-away pieces - concert fliers for local bands, some of the political productions around the elections.
Read anything good lately?
Kurt Anderson, Turn of the Century, Mindy Fulilove, Root Shock, trashy Anne Perry mystery novel - tragic over-reader.
Tell us a little about your recent mosaic workshop at the Union Project here in Pittsburgh.
Wow. It was intense! First I needed to give adequate thought to the requirements and what materials would satisfy them: permanent, easy to use, safe, indoor-outdoor. Once I devised a plan, I made a prototype. (below). The first day of the project, (it ran 4 consecutive Thursdays at the end of the past summer,) it was very stressful. Cement waits for no one. It dries. You have under 20 mins work time and the focus of the project was on kids. I was juggling a lot and I was blessed that a good friend came to the project who knows mosaics and kids too and she carried my butt! I got it together though and it was humbling to work with kids and passers-by. Everyone who stopped was sharp and supportive, interesting, talented. It was pretty amazing. We got almost 8 tables done - they all need polishing and finishing - on my to-do list - but they'll be used in the future at the space! I invite everyone to visit to learn about the intersection of art, community and faith.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
I'd like fellow artist-explorers and collectors to know that I've written several small how-to pieces that can be found here: Cheers!

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