Born from the desire to immerse art and dreams into everyday living, Lauren Dickinson Clarke offers an array of surreal and luxurious home accessories. Resisting her family’s wishes for a career in dentistry, Lauren decided instead to explore her artistic inclinations and after studying fashion design at university, Lauren learnt the beauty of creating by hand. After five years of working in fashion, Lauren rediscovered her passion for drawing and crafting and created her first ceramic design, The Creation of Madam.
Ever passionate about supporting UK manufacturing, each object is adorned with an ink illustration and proudly crafted in the heart and home of ceramics, Stoke-on-Trent. Lauren delights in producing illustrated wares that have more than just function and are even more that just art, resulting in a collection of unexpected and covetable objects. The LuxPad caught up with Lauren Dickinson Clarke to talk about her design process, what inspires her the most and her live-in mood board home…
Across your designs there is a real emphasis on hand-crafted details and traditional craftsmanship, why is this so important to you?
Craftsmanship has always been close to my heart. I think there is something so beautiful and almost poetic about somebody who gives so much of themselves to their work. When an object has been lovingly crafted, I think it can be truly felt and for me there is something just magical about that.
Can you talk us through your design process, how do you take an idea to the finished product?
All of my pieces begin as illustrations. Inspiration occurs at the most unusual of times and once an idea strikes, I put pen to paper and craft a drawing or series of drawings which create narratives within themselves or in between them. There is a very long drafting and redrafting process which happens before they are applied to a physical product. The final illustrations needs to be tweaked to suit the shape of the finished piece which can often be very fiddly but enjoyable too.
Once the design work is completed, the illustrations are applied by decals onto fine bone china. The pieces are fired, glazed and hand painted with a shimmering 22 carat gold rim. It is a true labour of love from start to finish.
The brand was born from the desire to make art and dreams a part of everyday living. All of our pieces can be mixed-and-matched and my intention is to allow our customers to engage as artists themselves. So the most important questions I ask when I’m designing, are “how will this make our customer feel?” and “what interaction will occur between the customer and this creation?”
Who or what inspires you the most?
I have always been inspired by the neo-classical art and architecture. Surrealism always has a place in my heart too as do some of the greats such as Monet and Lippi. But I am often curious about modern movements. The Moody Muse collection was inspired by the concept of the muse, these illusive women who inspire and motivate self-expression. This in turn led me to ponder on modern of self-expression. I found myself being so intrigued meme-culture and how we are often communicating visually through emojis and gifs. The Moody Muse collection is the result of these ponderings – a strange merging of art history and modern communication means. So as you might tell, inspiration can strike from many a varied place!
What does your typical working day look like?
Oh my goodness, I wish I had a straight answer for this! Every day is so different, depending on the time of year and project that I am working on. Some days are taken up with emails and logistical tasks. Others can be spent packing boxes and preparing orders, whilst many in between are spent on design work, social media and prepping for photoshoots. So there really is no typical day anymore! The best days are the ones when I am alone with my pens.
Do you have a favourite ever design or product that you have created?
I would say that I have two favourites – The Creation of Madam and The Shoe of Eden. This is because I distinctly remember how freely they came to life. I’m very connected to all of the illustrations I produce and so the enjoyment I take in creating a particular piece later plays a significant part in how I view it. I remember being in the Vatican and looking up at the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo and feeling incredibly moved. Later that night I had this idea to produce a version which had the irreverent juxtaposition of gender. I must have redrawn the hands ten times but it was a joy!
The Shoe of Eden on the other hand came together very fluidly. I was thinking about the Garden of Eden and wanted to tie in the visuals associated with it into an inanimate object of vanity. A boot seemed like the perfect choice as the serpent could be fashioned into leather. The irony is that this is probably one of the darker illustrations yet it was such a delightful drawing process.
Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
We’re about the release our range of Moody Muse scented candles which I’m absolutely thrilled about. We created the scents from scratch with one of the finest perfumers in Europe and each candle comes complete with its own matching hat! The scents have been crafted to reflect the personalities of the Muses and are truly unique. They make me simile every time I see them. I hope our customers enjoy using them as much as I loved creating them.
I am also working on an illustration at the moment which is inspired by the gardens of the Getty Villa. It’s an exotic motif with pearls and diamonds in place of the foliage and flowers. My goal is to create a whimsically surreal motif but with the added glamour of fine jewellery.
How would you describe your own home style and what is your favourite room in your home and why?
I have to confess, my home is a live-in mood board. Every wall is plastered with drawings and doodles, ideas and scribbles. I’ve always loved the idea of your home being the gallery of you, your desires and your dreams. Mine is certainly this! My favourite room is the lounge because it holds so many cherished memories of good times with friends.
What is the best advice that you have every received?
I have been lucky enough to receive a lot of very helpful advice over the years. A friend once told me that whatever I do, I have to stay true to myself and my vision. This really resonated with me because I have always believed in being authentic as a person and in your work. So I have tried to remember this advice particularly at times when difficult decisions need to be made. Whatever life throws at you, your gut always knows what’s best. Always trust your instinct.
If you didn’t work as a designer what you be and why?
I would most likely work in branding or film-making because I love the idea of producing a body of work which elicits an emotion from the people who view it. I think that being able to provide a moment of escape of fantasy is a wonderful thing. This is a motivation which inspires my work everyday.
What does the future hold for Lauren Dickinson Clarke?
Over the next year we will be expanding our reach into new markets. So far our designs have been embraced in China, Kazakhstan, Korea and Europe. If all goes well, my range will soon be available in Russia and the US, which is very exciting.
But more importantly, I will be working hard to craft new pieces which build an emotional connection with our customers. We will continue to dream, design, create and hopefully inspire others along the way.