Ceramics, painting, design: this Bellbrae artist does it all
Bellbrae resident Lauren Barton is an artist, mother, designer, educator, businesswoman, ceramicist and more.
She’s worked as a designer, renovated multiple houses, taught in schools, run art classes and raised two children.
“It seems like I change careers every 10 years or so,” Lauren said.
“I worked as a designer at Quiksilver in the Roxy department for about seven or so years. I was the head of the Roxy accessories for a while there, and then I decided to go back to uni to do my Dip Ed to go back and do teaching because I wanted to have a family and the design industry was a bit too hectic to do that.
“I was working as the art and design teacher for about 10 years and I’ve just resigned to focus more on my art,”
While pursuing her career she’s also managed to raise two children, start a successful bed and breakfast in Hepburn, and keep up her painting and art.
In 2020 the family moved from Torquay to Bellbrae, renovating a six-acre bush property.
This year, Lauren stopped full-time teaching to instead run ceramic classes for adults under her business Bellbrae Clay and focus more on her art.
“I’ve always painted in the background, and I’ve always taught ceramics,” she said.
“Then because of the pandemic I had some friends interested in having a little play around with clay, it’s gotten really popular obviously in COVID. So I started to have a little play around with that and then it really blew up.
“We listen to ’80s music and make ceramics and it’s a really good fun creative outlet for women who perhaps haven’t done ceramics since school.”
Lauren describes the classes as a calming pause in the middle of a busy life.
“It’s such a rugged bushland… when you first pull into our driveway, you drive down our road of rugged bushland, and it’s so beautiful just to pull off and you just feel like you’re a million miles away, and the tree are just their authentic selves and the bark’s falling off.
“You just zone out for a bit and enjoy it, and getting out of your busy lifestyle, and then you get to take home a keepsake.”
Lauren has always loved ceramics, and teaching, and enjoys how the two have come together so seamlessly.
“The process of making something with your hands from start to finish is so nice,” she said.
“So I always say to the students that come into the class, if they’re a bit of a perfectionist, I say it’s all about being organic and being handmade and knowing that it’s not mass-produced is really important. It’s all about the experience and getting together and letting the creative juices flow.”
In her ceramics, Lauren works with organic shapes and soft colours.
“I do love the organic, not perfect feel and that what I love with ceramics too. As much as I go back and make my pieces perfect, you also have to accept the little imperfections and that’s like the scenery out here as well, it’s imperfect but it’s gorgeous.”
In her painting, Lauren works with colourful landscapes, and is moving towards more abstract pieces.In both her painting and ceramics, she embraces colour and texture with a soft coastal touch.
“With my ceramics and with my classes, I try to do quite organic shapes, then often with coloured glazes.”
Next month her works will be featured in the Surf Coast Arts Trail.
“I do love to throw in the colours, which is a bit like my personality, I guess; I am a bit out there sometimes.”