Written byClaire Beale
Today’s Alumni guest blogger is Marie-Lauren Romano, who graduated from BATD in 2012. Even then, her interest in connecting a textile designer’s approach with jewellery design was apparent!
‘MLR can be described as unconventional simplicity, entangled in a chaotic mash-up of tiny details.’
- Marie-Lauren Romano, 2014
What is your current role?
Owner/Designer of MLR Creative Studio
Marie-Lauren Romano [MLR] is a contemporary creative with an innate passion and appreciation for art and design. The culmination of MLR was born through years of exploring techniques, design principals, mediums and various skillsets. Each piece is unique & handmade, resulting in one-of-a-kind artefacts. In essence ‘MLR’ is an extension of Marie’s spontaneous approach to creativity, design and surface creation. Marie has an ardent interest in contemporary jewellery, interior styling, fashion and Melbourne’s café culture.
Tell me a little bit about your background – how did you come to textiles and where has it led you?
Marie-Lauren is a formally trained textile designer, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) in 2012. Working across multiple mediums and projects she has always been fascinated by the interplay of colour combinations, and the emotion she could create through a unique surface. Recently launching MLR Marie’s current disciplines of focus are silver smithing (lost wax casting) and mixed media painting (abstract). The magic of a surface invites Marie, with each blank canvas acting as an endless possibility. Not afraid to push boundaries, Marie trials non-traditional methods and mediums in non-conventional compositions.
How do you define your style?
MLR was born through years of exploring techniques, design principals, mediums and various skillsets. Marie-Lauren believes each piece is a celebration of texture, angles, balance and beauty of materiality. Each hand-made piece offers qualities of imperfection that are results of an organic design process. Marie-Lauren rarely plans or sketches and enjoys the experimental nature of creating, embracing unpredictable outcomes. Her style is organic, as she loves the sculptural aspect of making jewellery; her desire is for each piece to be viewed as wearable art, taking on an individual life with its wearer.
What does a typical working day involve?
A typical working day for Marie-Lauren involves; starting the day with a long- black (no coffee, no workee) and checking her emails. Marie-Lauren engages in numerous commission orders, which require consistent email exchange with her customers.
She has quite a good schedule in terms of exercise, it makes her feel more focused and ready to tackle the rest of her day. Marie-Lauren is a keen yogi, visiting her favourite studio, Hot Yoga Flame at least three to four times a week, she is thankful for her “me” time and believes her practice keeps her centered.
From there Marie-Lauren generally heads to her studio, which is located in West Melbourne. ‘River Studios’ is a facility run by The City of Melbourne’s Creative Spaces team. It’s a beautiful old warehouse that has been converted into two levels of artist spaces (housing approximately 60 multifaceted artists).
Her space is split into a painting and jewellery area with her main day-to-day responsibilities being creating, experimenting and working on new ideas. Marie-Lauren also oversees the social media and branding strategy; undertaking market research, generating insights and implementing a brand message, ensuring she channels the correct message across multiple platforms.
Are there particular artists or designers you admire? What is it about them that you admire?
Karl Fritsch – Marie-Lauren admires Fritsch for his “grotesque yet beautiful” jewellery designs. Lucy Folk – Folk has managed to cultivate a strong brand following, something Marie-Lauren aims to create for MLR. Kim Victoria – Kim has a beautiful aesthetic that is highly recognizable, you can spot and easily identify Kim Victoria pieces. Mark Rothko – Rothko generated deep meaning through his ‘colour fields.’ His use of colour is empowering, stirring emotion in the viewer, which is an element Marie-Lauren hopes to emulate in her colour play pieces.
How do you stay inspired?
Marie-Lauren is an avid user and contributor to multiple social media platforms such as; Pinterest and Instagram. She gets lost in a visual feast of imagery and exciting new projects, which push her to continue working on personal pieces and upcoming collections.
MLR keeps up with local designers and artists, researching Melbourne creatives on a regular basis. Melbourne is a hub of creative juice, there are so many amazing creatives in her own city which she interacts with, and inspire her to continue working on her brand, in moments of doubt.
What did you take out of your Textile Design training?
Marie-Lauren graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) in 2011, which has provided her with a refined creative skillset. She strongly believes Textile Design training contributes to her brands unique point of difference, as she understands the interplay between thinking ‘outside-the-box,’ whilst developing, implementing and building formal brand strategies.
“I have always been at my best when given the opportunity to be creative, thriving on the ability to experiment with new ideas and innovative ways of thinking.” – Marie-Lauren Romano, 2015
Marie-Lauren is looking forward to building a strong brand message, and hopes to have a strong cult following for MLR . She wants to ensure each piece remains one-off and hand-made as her brand is a push against fast fashion and machine generated perfection.