Pushing Boundaries and Trusting Process: Lauren Haynes on Discovering a New and Subtle Style
Until recently, there was one word Lauren Haynes never used to describe her work: subtle.
“It used to be that everything I made had to be big, had to make an impact. It was about showpieces you can’t miss,” she said. “Now I’m finding it’s more about the process. And the result is a different type of showpiece -- it’s a bit more quiet. The aesthetic is softer.”
Still, it seems that people can’t look away from her new creation, a strand of ceramic beads shaped and fired by hand, each adorned with one-of-a-kind layers of partially-fired glazes, shellac and stains.
But actually, the process is a “very Lauren Haynes way of working,” she said. “Pushing the boundaries so far I don’t know how to resolve it . . . and then, it works.”
It began when a client asked her to make a necklace to complement a Tiki pendant. Lauren imagined the white ceramic beads that would truly complete the piece.
To make them a reality, though, she’d first have to learn to make ceramics.
Armed with insight (and a few clay samples) from friends, she rolled each bead by hand and began the trial and error of learning the how-to: how much each bead would shrink in the kiln, how the texture would change with each firing, how the beads were affected by glaze or shellac. The result was a simple necklace of bisque-fired white beads with a shellac that imparted just the right amount of old character.
And just like that, she was hooked.
Lauren bought a piece of pumice (the stone typically used to line a kiln) and began making beads one at a time with the torch she used to melt silver and gold. She began experimenting with temperature, knowing that silver melts at around 960 degrees. What happens to clay at that temperature? What happens when it gets a little hotter? How long could each bead be fired?
Next: colour. Lauren “played with a few glazes that are more earthy, really more like a stain.” She went back and added some of the original shellac. She burned off the shellac. And that’s when it happened: the colours and layers that make the beads so distinct began to emerge. The result is both subtle and commanding.
What’s next in this new phase? Lauren still has a carefully guarded jar of handmade beads on the shelf at Debrasic, ready to become the next hard-earned “happy accident” of an obsession with detail and trust in the process.