Lauren StanfordAnchorage, Alaska

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2019

Lauren Stanford was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska.  Her childhood summers were spent at her grandparents’ remote Alaskan homestead on Lake Clark, which molded her appreciation for animal forms and behaviors.  As a fourth generation Bristol Bay commercial fisherman, she now spends her summers set-netting for sockeye salmon near the mouth of the Naknek River.  Lauren received her BFA from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2018.  She recently completed a long term residency at the Mendocino Art Center in California, and will be returning for the 2019/2020 term.  Her sculptures have been featured in shows in Alaska, California, and New York, as well as in private collections along the west coast.

Creating ceramic sculpture is a dynamic process.  What was essentially mud has the ability to be transformed through sculpting, firing, and glazing into a permanent piece that will exist long after I am gone.  This transformation of malleable clay to a stone-like sculpture directly relates to the healing process I experience while creating my art: each piece brings a clearer understanding of self that is stronger and more permanent than the previous version.  Clay also allows me to articulate isolating thoughts and feelings into a tangible object that creates a dialogue with others.  I am perpetually surprised and comforted to learn that my own hopes and fears are shared by many.

Various species of animals serve as my muses.  Sculpting them allows me to return to the unencumbered moments in my childhood in which I ran around the Alaskan woods pretending to be whatever critter my imagination chose.  In my sculptures, I use familiar and foreign shapes and textures to share human narratives.  I identify with multiple characteristics of the creatures I choose, which means these animals embody contradictions of strength and fragility, of fierceness and sensitivity.