• Artist Editions: Lorien Stern

    Designed exclusively for Urban Outfitters, Artist Editions is an ongoing series of limited, original designs from some of our favorite new artists. 

    Lorien Stern is a full-time artist living in a small town in the Western Mojave Desert. She makes ceramic art and runs a small brand consisting of clothing, home goods and accessories. Her goal as an artist is to spread happiness with her work. Scroll on to read more.

    Photos by Dana Lynn Pleasant
    Can you introduce yourself — tell us more about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?
    Hi! My name is Lorien Stern. I am a full time artist living in Inoykern, California, a small town in the Western Mojave Desert. I make ceramic art and run a small brand consisting of clothing, home goods, and accessories.

    How did you first get into creating ceramics + objects?
    I went to California College of the Arts in Oakland, entering as a Painting Major. I had to take a prerequisite 3D class where we were assigned to make a reliquary. I made an urn for my father’s ashes using a lathe to make a wooden base and ceramic clay to build a bull’s head for a lid. From that experience something sparked in me that made me want to work with clay ever since. Now I split my time between ceramics and designing products. 
    Tell us more about your studio! Can you walk us through a typical day in the life?
    My ceramics studio is in an old shipping container bought by my neighbor, Dan, in a government liquidation auction. I was doing ceramics outside with my kiln plugged into power pole, and Dan surprised me with it one day it. They are easily equipped with built-in shelves, tables, lighting, and power outlets. Being gifted that studio was probably the best day of my life and was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. Anyways, I usually wake up around 10 am... and work until midnight or later, in the studio or doing computer work. I watch a lot of movies, series, and trash tv while I work. I also listen to music and podcasts... It helps me stay focused/get in the zone.

    What’s been inspiring you lately?
    Eels! I love how many of them are coated in the most beautiful patterns and colors, but they have such creepy, villainous, faces. I think they’re cute though. They also have a second jaw hiding in their throat like the sandworm in Beetlejuice. So alien! 

    How did your style evolve to what it is today? 
    I feel that my consistent theme is making work that makes me feel happy. Even if it has to do with unsettling subjects like death, or mysteries of the ocean, I like it all to bring out positive feelings. 
    What’s the most important thing to you when creating a product? 
    I want it to make me and other people feel happy.

    Who are some other artists (in any medium) who you look up to? 
    Kindah Khaildy, BFGF (Lillian Martinez), Katie Kimmel, Dave’s Clubhouse (Dave McPeters), Matt Furrie, Jen Stark, Paa Joe (Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop), Yayoi Kusama, Robin Schwartz, David Huggins, and Hayao Miyazaki.

    Any advice for others who are looking to begin their own creative endeavor but are unsure how to start? What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
    -To not worry about what you don’t have and get excited about what you do have. You can do so much with scrap paper and a pencil. Baby steps are ok! It’s good to be happy with what you have and use what you got. You can slowly accumulate supplies and expand. 
    -Utilize the internet! There is soo much information out there it’s amazing. Instagram is a real luxury for sharing your work and connecting with people. I don’t know if I’d be where I am without it. 
     -I honestly think Society6 is an awesome, low risk, platform where you can upload your images onto a wide range of products for you to visualize and test an audience’s response. 
    -Also don’t copy someone else’s work. It’s already out there! Share something new and true to you with the world!
    Lastly, what’s a dream project/ collaboration for you?
    I would die to team up and design products with museum gift shop. Especially The Museum of Natural History in NYC. I grew up visiting there once or twice a year with my grandparents. Museum/Zoo/Aquarium gift shops have always inspired me. 

    Shop Artist Editions