I first met Lauren Carlson of Question the Answer nine years ago. While the exact details of our first meeting are hard to pinpoint the impression that was left remains strong. Lauren is a true individual and when those rare people cross your path, you take notice. I think everyone that has the pleasure of knowing Lauren would agree that she has a clear sense of herself, she works ridiculously hard for what she wants, and she is incredibly kind. So it’s no surprise that her masterfully crafted jewelry and business have been a wild success. Lauren’s work is a clear reflection of who she is. When you own one of her pieces, you own something truly one of a kind.
Like any true artist, Lauren is constantly striving to improve upon and expand her work. She is currently hosting an Indiegogo campaign to expand her business and improve upon a piece that started her journey into jewelry making. If you haven’t contributed to this campaign, I encourage you to invest and get some amazing perks in the process!
Lauren was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work and let my daughter Lily and I visit her studio.
What is the inspiration/driving force behind your most recent work? What can we expect next?
LC: The driving force behind my current work is the evolution of a form that I began making years ago. The return of that design has really influenced me to understand what attracted me to jewelry making in the first place. I am so excited to see the complete life cycle of this sugar skull form and cannot wait to share it with my audience.
The line will launch in Spring 2016 and until then I'll be doing whatever is needed to make that collection into a reality. Meaning, I will be installing new equipment, building onto my studio and allowing a large window for experimentation and product sampling.
Why do you think jewelry is important?
LC: Jewelry is important because it marks a memory and that memory transcends time. Think about the emphasis we put on an heirloom broach or a ring that has been passed down several generations, this type of symbol provides unity and is a reminder of what's really important in life: the people that you love.
Run us through a day in your studio. Do you have any rituals or habits?
LC: Lately for the campaign, I've been writing a bunch of emails and spending a lot of time on the computer. I'll come in and try to knock out the computer work quickly and then make a game plan for the day's production. I generally work in an "assembly line" sort of way, I solder many pieces, then I polish those pieces and finally, I finish and package them. I'm still trying to hone in on my best process and am currently working hard on time management.
As far as rituals, I listen to podcasts and sometimes burn incense to make for a nice studio environment. But all I really need is something to distract my ears so that I can absorb myself into the work being done.
Which artist and makers are most inspiring to you? How have they influenced your work/business?
LC: I adore the Nashville clothing designer Elizabeth Pape of Elizabeth Suzann; her work is so beautiful. Seeing her succeed inspires me to really think of what my business might look like in three years. She's done a beautiful job growing her brand. I, of course, am also so inspired by Memphis' own, Brit McDaniel from Paper & Clay. Her power in the creative community here has been so strong & energetic. She really has helped so many of us to realize our potential and to work harder for things we want for our own businesses.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own line of products?
LC: I would say make sure to take time for product sampling. Just because you were able to make something once, doesn't always mean you'll be able to make that same product in well-crafted multiples. I've learned this the hard way.
Where can we find your work?
LC: You can find my work and shop for pieces on my website: questiontheanswer.com and for day-to-day posts, find me on Instagram; my handle is @questntheanswr. Please also check out my Indiegogo Campaign, the funds raised in the campaign will allow me to purchase the tools and equipment needed to make my Sugar Skull design into metal & will enhance my production process!
Contribute to the campaign here.
What did you think of Ms. Lauren's studio?
Lily: It was neat. I liked her cactus.
What did you think of Ms. Lauren?
Lily: She has blonde hair like me and her dress was beautiful. She was nice.
What did you think of Ms. Lauren's jewelry?
Lily: It was shiny and the faces looked like Flounder.