Ceramics, painting, design: this Bellbrae artist does it all

Bellbrae resident Lauren Barton is an artist, mother, designer, educator, businesswoman, ceramicist and more.

She worked as a designer, renovated several houses, taught in schools, ran art classes and raised two children.

“I seem to change careers every 10 years or so,” Lauren said.

“I worked as a designer at Quiksilver in the Roxy department for about seven years. I was the head of Roxy accessories for a while there then I decided to go back to college to do my Dip Ed to go back to teaching because I wanted to start a family and the design industry was a little too hectic to do that.

“I worked as an art and design teacher for about 10 years and just quit to focus more on my art,”

Lauren’s paintings are full of textures and colors and often heavily inspired by her home on the Surf Coast.

While pursuing her career, she also managed to raise two children, start a successful bed and breakfast in Hepburn, and pursue her painting and art.

In 2020 the family moved from Torquay to Bellbrae, renovating a six-acre bush property.

This year Lauren left teaching full time to run adult ceramics classes as part of her Bellbrae Clay business and focus more on her art.

In her ceramics, Lauren works with organic shapes and multicolored, luminous glazes.

“I’ve always painted in the background and always taught ceramics,” she says.

“Then because of the pandemic I had some friends interested in playing with clay a bit, it became very popular obviously in COVID. So I started to play with it a bit and then it really exploded.

“We listen to music from the 80s and make ceramics. It’s a really fun creative outlet for women who may not have been doing ceramics since school.”

Ceramic tools and examples ready for a Bellbrae Clay ceramics lesson.

Lauren describes classes as a soothing break from a busy life.

“It’s such rugged bushland…when you first come into our driveway, you’re driving down our rugged bush road, and it’s so beautiful just to stop and you just feel like you’re a million miles away, and the tree is just their authentic selves and the bark is falling off.

“You just go out for a bit and enjoy it, and get out of your hectic lifestyle, and then you bring home a souvenir.”

Lauren has always loved ceramics and teaching, and appreciates how the two have come together so seamlessly.

“The process of making something with your hands from start to finish is so enjoyable,” she said.

“So I always say to the students who come into the class, if they’re a bit of a perfectionist, I say it’s about being organic and being handmade and knowing that it’s not not mass produced is really important. It’s all about experience, gathering and letting creativity run wild.

In her ceramics, Lauren works with organic shapes and soft colors.

“I like the organic feel, not perfect and that’s what I like with ceramics too. As much as I go back and make my pieces perfect, you also have to accept the little imperfections and it’s like the landscape here too , it’s imperfect but it’s beautiful.

In her painting, Lauren works with colorful landscapes and moves towards more abstract pieces. In her painting and ceramics, she embraces color and texture with a soft coastal touch.

“With my ceramics and with my classes, I try to make fairly organic shapes, then often with colored glazes.”
Next month his works will be featured in the Surf Coast Arts Trail.

“I love adding colors, which is a bit like my personality I guess; I’m a little out there sometimes.

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