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Lauren Smith, Laurenink

Former children’s worker Lauren Smith decided to follow her passion and has made her art her job.

The Skipton-based papermaker and calligrapher loved art at school but opted to train in a career which she thought at the time offered her more long-term employment opportunities.

Lauren said: “Like many people, it was put to me that art could be my hobby but it wasn’t really a career option. I did a degree in childhood studies and went down the teaching assistant route. In the last few years I have decided I wanted to pursue a creative career and it is going really well.

“I make paper from plant fibres such as cotton rag, flax and inner bark. There’s a lot of experimental stuff going on in hand paper making with a lot of potential still to be explored and I am keen to try out new things.”

Lauren also specialises in calligraphy and creates botanical style illustrations using a dip pen and ink. As one half of a wedding stationery design partnership she brings these skills and artwork to the design process to create luxury paper goods for weddings and higher budget events.

She has been awarded some seedfunding for further training with letterpress printing and to buy a letterpress. The award will enable her to develop her creative practice by combining letterpress and handmade paper to print her illustration and calligraphy.

She said: “The pressure from the printing plate combined with the soft textural paper creates a beautiful fossil like impression of the design. I can’t wait to experiment with that winning combination!”

She said: “GPLD’s seedfunding has brought my goals a lot closer, bringing them within my grasp.”

Lauren Smith