On her website’s “About” page, it is written: “Laura Goldstone is many things: a flapper, a comedian, a tiny Italian shoe connoisseur—but more than anything else, she’s an Artist.” That sentence very deftly describes the characteristics of a woman who’s work is elegant and strong. Here, Laura dishes on her deliberate decision to keep a job in addition to making, how being creative gives you access others don’t have, and the importance of actively pursuing meditative interests.
please introduce yourself!
My name is Laura Goldstone. I’m a working artist, which means I usually have a day job to support my maker/artistic tendencies and I always try to find a balance that allows me to be continuously creative. I grew up in Selma, California, which is a pretty small farming community in central California. My mother’s parents worked as farm laborers in that area and I spent the first few years of my life living in a tiny house amongst the grape vines and orchards. I currently live in Portland, Oregon and love how the city merges urban and wild spaces together in a beautiful way.
what do you make or do?
Creatively, I tend to jump around a lot from collage to illustrations to sewing and then to sculpture and installations. Every medium has it’s own unique qualities and sometimes it takes a lot of just noodling around to figure out what feels right for a piece. Sketchbooks are a constant and I usually have up to three or four that I’m currently filling. I think in the past few years I’ve leaned more towards playing with sculptural forms; they just feel more exciting and fresh to me. After working with museums for so long it started to shift my thinking about the experiences I want to evoke between the viewer and the work itself. I was learning a lot about how people interact with exhibits and discovered that I was starting to pay more attention to how my physical relationship to the nuances of a work of art influenced my emotional reaction to that work.
where can we find your creations?
Right now most of my work in progress or finished work is featured on my blog, and my website. I have an etsy shop which is currently filled with vintage items I fall in love with while resource hunting, but an etsy shop with artwork is coming this fall.
how long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I’ve been creating ever since I was a kid. Two of the most influential creative experiences of my life were 1) seeing my parents being actively inventive and creative, and 2) every summer we’d go to the library and load up on kids craft books and then we’d sit in our kitchen and go to town.
It’s not a full time job and here’s why. I find that, for me, the pressure of making a living from my work interferes too much with my process in a negative way. I love being able to jump around and explore and not have to worry about branding or how something will photograph or selling enough work to pay the rent. I find that having a day job only benefits my creativity because it brings fresh things in; I meet new people, share ideas, learn new things, and it sometimes serves as a diving board into exploring new subjects or materials, but it’s also taking care of my basic needs so I can enjoy that creative freedom.
when you’re not making things, what do you do?
When I’m not actively making things I feel like I’m always doing things that inform my work or give me time to ruminate and get some perspective or clarity. I read a lot, hang out in the garden, play with the cats, go for long exploration walks around the city, go on day trips, catch up with friends, clean, cook. I like to do meditative things. My side jobs usually involve teaching and I spend a lot of time brainstorming activities, researching ideas and approaches. I love dreaming and scheming.
is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
I think it’s both. I’ve created a lifestyle for myself that allows me to enjoy the luxury of making and exploring ideas and taking my time, but I realized a long time ago that putting in the time keeps me grounded and is just as important to my well-being as good sleep and exercise.
what obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
Oh man, the thing about obstacles is that they are always changing as life goes on. Sometimes it’s time management, sometimes it’s expectations, sometimes it’s just dealing with the critic in my own head, sometimes it’s financial, sometimes it’s motivation. For a long time I struggled with giving myself permission to just do what was needed, to take my time, to be a mess and to make mistakes. I used to feel a lot of pressure about making the most of life, doing it all, really living fully, but now I realize that that’s not so important anymore, just take the days as they come, let things happen as they will and find your flow.
if money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?
That’s been one of my top daydreamy questions this year. Really, I think it would just influence my workspace and my time differently. I find that a lack of monetary resources can push you to be really resourceful and creative with what’s available and I like that kind of ingenuity. That being said, I’d love to translate pieces into bronze, so having the money to cover foundry expenses and labor would be awesome. I’d probably hire an assistant.
what inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
I feel like being an artist or any creative person can give you an all-access pass to life; take advantage of those backstage moments. Talk to other artists (and everyone) about their process, their livelihood, their difficulties; sharing our experiences can be so very helpful. Be willing to shake down your preconceived notions of what being an artist/maker/craftsperson is supposed to be and find what works for you. If you hit a time in your life when you’re not making any art, keeping looking, keep thinking, keep doodling; as long as your putting some kind of energy into it, it will only make starting again easier. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, take risks, look foolish, wait, question the shoulds, and find your pace.
who are the makers that inspire you?
This is going to sound so cheesy, but anyone who works with their hands is inspiring to me. The hands are the most expressive part of our bodies and I feel like some of our internal self passes through to the items you handle. Here’s a list of a few people whose worlds I’d love to occupy; Kaye Blegvad, Souther Salazar and Monica Choy, Julia Gforer, Monica Canilao, Ann Wood, Adriana Torres, Clyfford Still, Lori Damiano, Ruth Asawa, oh I could go on for days.