Magical—that’s how Laura Viren describes the ability to throw a creative business together, literally with her own two hands.
She’s the daughter of veterinarians with siblings in other scientific professions, but it was her grandfather, an architect, who inspired her to follow her dream to enter a more creative field. She remembered his large hand-drawn drafts and blueprints for buildings and the way he always called her Lulu. From there, Laura Viren says Lulu Pottery was born.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said Viren. “I really truly feel like this is what I was meant to do. To take experiences like coffee and create this cup that takes it to the next level, that’s something that’s just magical and mysterious and I never get bored of it.”
She went into business eight years ago. From start to finish, every step of the process is done by Laura herself. It all happens inside her workshop in her Bozeman home. Her only helper, she jokes, is her dog, Carl. She calls him her CEO.
“Other than Carl it’s just me!” she said. “Yes, every single part of the process of creating the mug is me. Even a lot of the digital art is me because I also do graphic design.”
From glazing to firing to stocking store shelves of specialty shops in Montana, the dream began when she was just nine years old.
“It’s not something I naturally pursued early on,” she said. “When I was 21, my mom took me up to Glacier and took me to this store where an artist was selling her pieces and I remember thinking, ‘I wish I was them,’” said Viren.
She followed her dream in spite of the challenges aspiring artists face. She says seeing her product on those same-store shelves where she marveled at the work of others as a child is a little girl's dream come true.
“I think it’s still magical, kind of like a kid on Christmas morning,” she said.
Laura gave us a close-up look at the process.
It all starts with one pound of clay.
Then to the wheel: there’s no mold —every piece, every mug is formed with Laura’s two hands.
“It’s perfectly imperfect. I just kind of let go of the perfection because that’s also what makes it human.”
It takes about two weeks to get the orders in and out the door.
It’s a skill and process that requires patience, a virtue Laura says helped her get through the pandemic and come out stronger than before. She’s just launched a new line of designs and a new logo.
Meanwhile, she has a message for every aspiring young artist out there: You can indeed turn your passion into a paycheck.
“People buying my work, it literally still blows my mind,” said Laura. “I couldn’t be more grateful. I get emotional but it’s one of the biggest blessings of my life, being able to make work like this is truly an honor. I don’t think this passion will go away. My heart could not be more full.”
Laura says leaning on other artists got her through the pandemic. She is also a wife and proud mother of two.
You’ll find her pieces in stores across Montana.
Find out more here: Lulu Pottery | Elegant pottery for everyday living. – Lulu Pottery MT