Sit Down with Lauren Strybos
Travelling and nature definitely played a part in shaping Lauren’s art over the years. Having also explored China as well as doing a cross-Canada trip in 2017, she still has a lot of those landscapes and colours floating around in her head. “I think there were so many beautiful things to see and experience but I really found a new appreciation for how beautiful our own country is in terms of topography and scenery,” remarks Lauren.
When asked what it means to her to have a land acknowledgment statement on her website (www.fromtreetosea.com), she explains, “There is a lot of erasure when it comes to Indigenous history in Canada, and land acknowledgements are a first step towards honouring the first peoples’ relationship with the land we now live on, and their inherent right to that land.” She goes on by saying, “Personally, I didn’t even learn about residential schools until I was in university. I continued to learn throughout my career and while working for the Canadian Wildlife Service, I connected with First Nations groups over endangered species conservation.”
Lauren moved from Toronto to Calgary at the end of 2017. “I wasn’t expecting to end up here, but am happy I did!” she exclaims. “Prior to settling in Calgary I had recently quit my job as a wildlife biologist with the plan to travel across canada in my car - made it all the way out to Newfoundland and all the way across to Vancouver Island.” She adds, “While stopping in Calgary, I found a beautiful creative community first at Workshop Studios, now at Nvrlnd. and made the decision to stay here to build my business and cultivate my clay practice.”
Lauren is inspired by the colour of raw clay, which is why she hardly glazes the exterior of her pieces. “I think it really pays homage to the earth in which it came from,” she exclaims.
“I would say my work has also taken a more illustrative direction as of late,” Lauren explains. “I include a lot of flora and fauna that I have worked on in my previous career (snakes, butterflies, birds, etc.). I think the connection of “shaping earth” and painting the critters that live on it go hand in hand.”
Lately, Lauren has been inspired by friends who also work in the same creative space as her such as Rima Sobh, Taylor Kline, Anna-Lise Schmidt, Samantha Shaw, Bramble Lee Pryde, Meghan MacWhirter, and Steph Jane to name a few.
Lauren adds, “Seeing the beauty and growth in their practices definitely inspires me plenty. I’m also amazed at the sculptural ceramic pieces by Soulstice Ceramics and loving the beautiful glass work of Jasmine Law.”
“Lastly, Maggie Boyd, a New York based ceramicist (formerly from Vancouver) will always be a big inspiration of mine because of her enthusiasm for clay and its endless possibilities.” Lauren adds that she took a couple of classes with her in 2021 and says, “it was delightful and enlightening.”
Just as her art has evolved over time, so too has the ability to connect with other creatives as technology makes it easier to do so. Lauren met Heather (Meadow’s owner) over instagram. “It has been such an amazing tool in connecting with creatives during the pandemic.” She adds, “I loved how supportive she was of small business and the overall aesthetic of Meadow.”
For Lauren, she always thought art had to be, for lack of better words, very grand and very serious to be considered “art”. As she continues to move through her own practice and meet other creatives, this mindset has shifted where she now sees so much beauty in making fun things that make people feel some sort of joy or calm. “I think my work matches my personality quite well in this regard,” she says. “I realized I never have to stick to making one thing over and over again (no matter how successful it may be), and I want to constantly be changing, growing and learning.
Lauren’s next big goal is to have her own art show with a curated batch of work.
Finally, Lauren passed on this gem to the next generation of ceramicists, “Try to find your own voice! Once you start creating it’s common to be inspired by others’ work, but finding your own style is the key to a fulfilling art practice.”
She also points out, “I try to recognize myself when I need to slow down on consumption (especially of art on social media) and rather focus on creation.”
“Be patient with yourself, and know that sometimes the best way to get out of a creative rut is to step away from the wheel and spend some time outside, or even exploring new mediums,” she highlights.
Lauren also encourages taking an online class during the pandemic. “In person classes are even better and hopefully will be available in the near future.” Finally, you’re never done learning ESPECIALLY in the world of clay. There is always something new to learn or experiment with!”
CONNECT WITH LAUREN:
Website - www.fromtreetosea.com
Instagram - www.instagram.com/fromtreetosea/
Story written by Dean Douglas (Douglas Marketing Inc) in collaboration with Lauren & Heather.
Photography by Karmen Meyer - https://www.karmenmeyer.ca/