Skin Story: Ochre Handmade

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Lauren Quinn is the creative mind behind Ochre Handmade, a joyful line of jewellery and other accessories made from polymer clay. Ochre Handmade was started only a couple of years ago, and has already been featured in publications like InStyle magazine and Rock n Roll Bride.

We spoke to Lauren about her day-to-day routine as a maker, and how her career came to be...

© Domestika 2022

Have you always been a creative person, or did creativity find you later on?

I would definitely say I have always been a creative person, it's more the ways I express that creativity that have changed over time. As a young child I loved painting and drawing, my Grandma was an artist and I spent a lot of time with her during school holidays. She taught me a lot about colour theory and visual composition, which is really useful in a lot of creative practices!

You explained to us that the pandemic caused you to have a change of career; how are you finding life now as an artist/maker, compared to your work before within the film industry?

It’s certainly a different pace. Film is very much ‘go go go’ and everything should have been done by yesterday. The pandemic gave me the chance to step away from that rigid structure and pace, which I am really grateful for. It really allowed me to explore myself as an artist and as an individual, something I hadn’t found the time to do as an adult! Working for yourself comes with its own challenges, and you definitely have to be strict with yourself in some cases. But for the most part, it's been really rewarding so far.

© Domestika 2022

Your earrings and other makes are so joyful; where do you draw inspiration from?

Thank you! In terms of inspiration, I usually first turn to nature. I have always loved intricate details; marbling in agate, the colouring of a pressed flower, macro photos of butterfly wings etc. All these details often exhibit a strong colour pattern too, and you can find so many complimentary colours in nature which I think is really fascinating. You’ll see a lot of my work is inspired by marble, I really love the almost randomised beauty of it. You never quite know what you’ll end up with as the final piece, and that always keeps me on my toes!

What does a day in the life of Ochre Handmade usually involve?

Firstly coffee, always! I then usually spend the morning taking product photos as I get the best lighting in my studio around that time. Then I tend to mock up some ideas, break for lunch, and then try to implement those ideas in the afternoon. If I’m on a roll, I’ll have dreamt up a style in the morning and be wearing the earrings by that evening!

As well as being an artist yourself, you are someone who has tattoos. Which tattoo in your collection is your favourite, and why? 

My favourite is really hard to choose to be honest. So I am going to choose 2! First up is the portrait of my cat Phillip on my left upper arm. I had this done back in 2014 and I always still get comments and compliments on him! He is definitely a conversation starter.

As is my second choice of favourite tattoo: my corncob-meets-dagger through the heart. Niche, I know. The idea for this fun piece came from a late night chat with a large group of artist friends, most of which are based in America. For reasons I can barely recall (lack of sleep? Lockdown insanity??) we decided to call ourselves The Corn Club, or The Clorb for short. I had joked for a while that I would get a tattoo to honour my friendship and connection with these amazing ladies, so I had to follow through! So I have a corncob shaped corn holder, through a heart, on my outer left forearm. I love it!

Do you have any upcoming tattoo plans?

One actually: I am getting a piece based off some work by my friend Emma Day who is a surrey based fine artist, she does lots of landscapes and nature. I have always loved a piece of hers which includes linework of a bear in some trees with the caption “Everything is going to be okay”. I got her to rework the original piece so that it would fit on my calf, and I’m getting that done later this year!

© Domestika 2022

And finally, when not creating your next batch of earrings, what do you like to get up to in your spare time?

In my spare time, I try to get out and about in nature where I can. Surrey has some really lovely nature reserves so I am lucky to have that on my doorstep. I also love playing Animal Crossing, and rewatching Twin Peaks and The X Files for the millionth time.

To keep up to date with all things Ochre Handmade, give Lauren a follow on Instagram @ochrehandmade.