Lauren Street of Boulder Mountain Clayworks brings over 20 years of ceramics experience to the wheel.
When it came time to choose who was going to design and create our signature Pepper coffee mugs, we looked no further than Lauren Street.
Many of Pepper’s contributors and makers come from people we’ve met along the way, and Lauren is no exception. Pepper co-founders, Sarah and Lincoln, have known her since their daughters played volleyball together in their small Idaho town.
Lauren has been throwing pots since high school, and her passion for pottery is infectious. She started Boulder Mountain Clayworks in Ketchum, ID, over 20 years ago with a fellow artist. Today, this bustling nonprofit community clay studio offers educational programs, creative outlets, and cultural events, giving people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to experience the art of clay.
When she’s not busy running the studio, teaching classes, making glazes, coaching the SVSEF Alpine Ski Team, or being active with her husband and two college-aged kids, Lauren designs and creates her own unique dinnerware (and adorable mugs, like the ones she handmade for Pepper).
We had a chance to talk with Lauren and ask her more about her creative process and her thoughts on connection.
Pepper: We love your work. Tell us more about where it all began for you?
Lauren: I started throwing pots in high school. Then I went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts and ceramics at Otis Parsons College of Art and Design. That is where my true passion for clay flourished.
Pepper: What inspires you and your designs?
Lauren: My designs are inspired mostly by color and contemporary architectural design. I rely on the science behind ceramic glazes and gas-fired kilns. Taking Glaze Technology in college gave me a great understanding of what glazes do, which vary greatly in texture, smooth lines, and surfaces based on different atmospheres inside the kiln. Kilns can fire as hot as 2381 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pepper: What do you love about what you do?
Lauren: I love seeing a completed set of dinnerware that I made stacked up in a cabinet or set beautifully on a table. I get a thrill from knowing how many steps and how much work went into that set and knowing it will be used by someone else.
I’ve made dinnerware for complete strangers, family, restaurants, and friends. Some well-known people too! I’ve taught ceramics to people of all ages. Some fall in and take the craft to the next level and some check it off of their bucket list.
Pepper: What’s the culture like within your team?
Lauren: I have a great office assistant who helps with the nonprofit. I also have several interns who help with chores around the studio like recycling clay, making glazes, and loading and unloading kilns. But when it comes to making dinnerware, I do it all myself. I’m a little selfish that way. I want to do every step. There are about ten steps to making just one pot. Weighing out the clay, wedging, throwing, trimming, drying, bisque firing, waxing, glazing, firing again, and sanding the bottom of the piece.
Pepper: Can you share a memorable experience from building your business?
Lauren: Once I was hired by a local restaurant to make 180 bowls. This was my first BIG job. And they wanted them in two weeks! I had never done a job this big, but I really wanted to prove myself, so I said yes. It was over Thanksgiving break. I made my husband take the kids and dog to visit his mother. I worked day and night for two weeks. When I fired the kiln (which is a four-day process), I had a dream that night that I opened the kiln and all of the bowls came out square! (More like a nightmare.) But I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the kiln and found all of the pieces perfectly intact and beautiful.
Pepper: You’re married to someone you’ve known since you were 17. How do you balance work and manage your relationship?
Lauren: Both my husband and I work a ton! Sometimes we are like ships in the night. But we try to always eat dinner together, spend time hanging on the couch, and most of our socializing with friends is done together. We meet for lunch a few days a week, but we both give each other the space we need to get our work done. We both value each other’s fitness schedules as well.
Pepper: Give us three words that help you and your husband maintain a healthy and fulfilling connection.
Lauren: Compromise, communication, and forgiveness.
And there you have it. Lauren nailed it completely. Thanks for adding your artist vision to Pepper’s private collection, Lauren.
Find her unique handmade mugs in our Pepper flagship store at Resorts World Las Vegas.