Flyer Profile: Lauren Embree

It didn’t take Fayetteville artist Lauren Embree very long to figure out that working in the corporate world wasn’t for her.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Communications, Embree did what a lot of people in the area do after graduation, she took a job in the vendor community in Bentonville. But after a few years working for the man, Embree decided that helping to finance a CEO’s African Safari and private jet wasn’t what she wanted to do with her life.

Meanwhile, the jewelry that Embree had been designing since 2003 was catching more and more people’s attention, and this year, Embree decided to make l : e custom design her full-time focus.

Embree’s jewelry is made almost entirely from reclaimed and discarded vintage materials and Lauren will debut her “Vintage Goddess” collection of handmade jewelry tonight at Ultra Studios.

We got in touch with Lauren today and she was nice enough to answer some questions for us.

Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Lauren Embree: Lots of hip hop! Lupe Fiasco, A Tribe Called Quest, a bit of Wu-Tang & De La Soul. One of my favorite musicians, Sondre Lerche, just released a new album, so he’s in heavy rotation!

FF: How long have you been designing jewelry?
LE: I’ve been designing since 2003, but took it on as a full-time venture earlier this year.

Jewelry by Lauren Embree

FF: According to your website, you quit your “boring corporate job” to do jewelry design full time. How did that come about?
LE: I’ve discovered that I don’t really like working for other people. I wanted to be doing something where my efforts were going to benefit the things I care about, not help my CEO buy a new jet! It’s great to be working for myself, and be able to partner with like minded entrepreneurs.

FF: A lot of your jewelry is made from vintage or reclaimed materials, correct?
LE: Yes. When my great grandmother passed away, I inherited a lot of her vintage costume jewelry. I started taking it apart and re-fashioning it into modern designs, and got a lot of compliments whenever I wore them. I love using vintage and castoff materials–it gives my work character and makes each piece unique.

FF: Does a lot of your work come from commissions?
LE: I’d say about 30-40% of my work right now is custom design, repair & redesign. I’m currently working on designing a necklace and earring set for a bridal party of six. I particularly enjoy when people bring in their grandmother’s old jewelry to be refashioned into new pieces.

FF: How long does it take (on average) to make one of your custom pieces of jewelry?
LE: It really depends on the materials I am working with. Each piece I do is one of a kind, so there is a lot of trial and error. Some days I will only complete a piece or two, and other days I can finish as many as 10.

FF: Fayetteville’s artistic community seems really healthy right now. Would you agree?
LE: Absolutely! I grew up in Hot Springs, which is a bustling artistic community. When I moved to Fayetteville in 2003, I really missed that vibe of creativity. There are so many talented people in this area and, more importantly, people who are passionate about supporting the arts. I’m very excited to be here now.

FF: Tell us about your new line, and your opening on Friday.
LE: My new line is called Vintage Goddess–inspired by the Greek, Roman & Egyptian Antiquities collections at the Metropolitian Museum of Art in NYC. It features rich semi-precious stones nestled among opulent vintage chains & accents. Vintage Goddess is opening at Ultra Studios in Fayetteville on Friday, October 9 from 6-9pm with live music by the Lafayette Lounge Players (featuring members of Hardaway & the Commoners), libations, hors d’oeuvres, and, of course, fabulous jewelry!

Ultra Studios is a great boutique & gallery featuring amazing fashions by designer/owner Brooke Benham, and lots of local art. She’s really transformed the space and has turned it into a hub of creativity for the community. I love what she’s doing, and I feel blessed to be showing my line there.