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Rising Stars: Meet Lauren Nall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Nall.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
The arts have been prevalent in my life and I knew from an early age that I had an innate capacity for creativity. I was trained in classical ballet from the age of 5 and did that through high school along with choir. I’d participate in school musical theater productions as well as community theater. I was immersed in performance arts from a young age, but always found the most satisfaction out of drawing and painting.  I’m introverted by nature, so being able independently channel my creative flow into a visual and tangible representation proved to be rewarding and advantageous to my development as an artist. 

I went to Missouri State university in 1998  knowing that I wanted to pursue an art degree but unsure what medium really spoke to me.  I chose a beginning metals class as an elective my second semester in college – I’m so glad I did because fell in love with the process immediately. I studied under enamellist Sarah Perkins, my advisor and mentor throughout the course of completing the program. I’m grateful for her and for the time I had at MSU.

In 2003 I earned a BFA with an emphasis in Metals/Jewelry. I’ve since been exploring the technical challenges metals has to offer and still every bit as intrigued by it as I ever was. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
A great deal of my design process is a series of trial, error, and technical lessons that I’m always honing. The business aspect of selling myself doesn’t come naturally; I’m not business savvy but learning to be as I go.  Maintaining traction in my local art circuit is an important aspect of the hustle. At the end of the day, all I want to do is hunker down and make stuff but in order to do that, I have to keep the business viable. It’s difficult for me to put myself out there but I come by it honestly and do it with a smile.  

Fortunately, St. Louis and the mid-west is full of opportunities for artisans like me so I have not had to travel far to participate in art shows and exhibits. That said, the art of successfully setting up shop and showing at events requires careful planning, a lot of physical and emotional energy, and a great deal of compromising as a family unit. My husband and kids are great sports and do their best to make the most of weekends I’m busy showing.

FletcherWorks is a multifaceted machine with lots of moving parts. It’s a collaboration of local retail gallery sales, custom orders, regional juried art show sales, and online sales.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Traditional Navajo ornamentation is a source of inspiration for my creative concepts. I’m intrigued by how influential it was to the modernist jewelry movement and its significance across cultures to express personal style, often associated with social status, and the importance of fulfilling a desire to display things believed to be sentimental.

Transforming metal into dimensional forms is a technical challenge I am continually exploring. Metal has number of characteristics that make it an ideal medium to work with. When heated, it becomes malleable and can be shaped easily. The more it is worked the harder and stronger it becomes. Another really cool aspect of working with this material is that it is continually recyclable. All of my remnants, down to the tiny shavings, are collected and sent to a local refinery where they turn the scraps into new sheet metal and wire. My tools are dear to me, they offer a range of applications that allow me to create original wearable art. Inspiration works interchangeably with the traditional metalsmithing tools I use and wide range of applications the process has to offer.

I enjoy combining traditional ornamentation styles with modern elements of design.  Each of my pieces is fashioned, formed, and fabricated entirely by hand, beginning with sheet metal and wire, often accompanied by precious & semiprecious gemstones and found objects. I incorporate variations of pattern as texture embellishments which produces a one of a kind aesthetic into my collections. Shapes and forms seen in botanicals and the natural world are figurative elements that inspire my creative concepts. Much of my work has aged and conventional components paired with features that timeless heirloom qualities.

The style chosen for each original creation differs from one piece to the next; thus no two are the same and each one as unique as the individual who wears it.

My signature lichen cabochons are as original as they come. When visiting the great northwest with my family, I collect wolf lichen from various campsites and hiking trail sites. My roots are in Idaho, I have extended family there who I am middle named after- the Fletchers. After years of collecting lichen, I decided I wanted to get creative with it and encapsulate it and forever preserve it. I had done some custom work with resins, epoxies, and dried flowers.  This inspired me to try it out with lichen……, after it dries, I and arrange and press it under clear glass cabochons with clear jewelers epoxy. The finished product is a vibrant chartreuse conversation starter. 

Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Camping and picking huckleberries in McCall, ID with my family. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photo credit: Lauren F. Nall

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