Making It: Ceramics in the Studio of Lauren HB
MAKER: Lauren Herzak-Bauman
BUSINESS: Lauren HB Studio
STARTING YOUNG: Ceramics artist Lauren Herzak-Bauman received support from her parents at a very young age. “They put a soccer ball in front of me, they put paints in front of me,” she explained. “I flocked to the paints, and they were like, ‘Yes!’ And they just really followed my lead.” Her mother also started an art center in her hometown of Brecksville. “So I had unprecedented access to art classes as a really young person. I learned how to throw on a wheel before I could drive a car,” she said.
CHOOSING A PATH: Herzak-Bauman attended Bowling Green State University for ceramics, and began shaping her own style in pottery. Halfway into her college career, her thoughts on making pots changed, and she shifted her attention to a different art form. “I had one of those big realizations and thought, ‘I don’t want to make pots, I don’t care about function! I’m going to make sculpture’,” she said.
Herzak-Bauman landed in Minneapolis, MN, for grad school, and decided to shift her focus once again. “I really got into this idea of temporary, site-specific installations, really large scale things,” she explained, her thoughts veering away from making permanent objects, such as ceramic pottery and sculpture. Down the road, she got into the idea of public art, even though it was something more permanent. “With some more years and maturity, I realized I didn’t have to abandon everything else.”
Herzak-Bauman now finds joy in connecting her love of pottery, sculpture, and public art. “I really love that I can do all of these different things now, and that I’m not married to one single thing. It just suits my personality… it’s a great fit,” she said.
BACK TO CLEVELAND: The native of Brecksville found her niche in Minneapolis, a city with a strong artist community. “I didn’t think I’d be able to ever come back to Cleveland. I just didn’t think it had the kind of support I needed as an artist,” Herzak-Bauman said.
But around seven years ago, Cleveland was heading into a period of great change. “It was around 2012 when Cleveland was entering into its renaissance, when the maker movement was underway, and more and more art was popping up downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods,” she noted. “That’s when I felt confident that I could return here.”
LEAVING HER MARK: Herzak-Bauman began making her pots again after settling back in Cleveland and finding studio space at the Screw Factory in Lakewood. Starting to sell her work at the Cleveland Flea several years ago sparked great interest in the community. She has since resumed creating sculpture as well, and takes on a few public art installation projects throughout the year.
You may recognize a few past projects around town, including the wall behind the reception desk at the Westin hotel, or in the lobby of MetroHealth in Brecksville.
“It’s funny, when you just follow the process, and see where things can lead you, you find yourself in these really interesting places.”
"Drift" at the Westin Hotel, Downtown Cleveland [Photo: Ricky Rhodes]
"Anicca" at MetroHealth in Brecksville [Photo: Ryan Jaenke]