Question the Answer
Intro by Tarra Kruzan & Photography by Well Worn Co.
Searching for life’s meaning is as innate to human nature as breathing. Finding beauty, not only the answers found, but the questions alike, is a prized virtue. Lauren Carlson of Memphis, TN has dedicated her life’s work to this virtue through her artistic endeavor: Question the Answer.
A student of art to her core, Carlson has always taken great pleasure in the complex beauties of life. Inspiration from creation, the human body, and the mind all come out in her art. Her workspace is covered in beautiful sketches of the brain as well as the intricacies of the eye. This eternal curiosity, coupled with her keen eye for fine clothing and adornments has fueled her inspiration for what she creates.
Question the Answer was born through the trial and struggle of young artistic angst. Carlson found herself waiting tables to make ends meet. Spending late nights that turned into early mornings on her first love became her only solace for creative breakthrough. After dedicating every last penny to growing her trade, Carlson’s journey to becoming a seasoned artisan started to take shape. Unexpectedly, time spent in her grandfather’s woodworking shop proved to be her most valued training. A fashionista with a blowtorch and a band saw has never been more captivating.
The beautiful jewelry that Lauren Carlson makes for her clients is proving to be more than a simple adornment, it’s an anthem of who she is. This strong, talented, Memphis native gives each of these women a gift: the result of her eternal curiosity and inspiration to always Question the Answer.
Trouvé: Tell us more about yourself, your work, and what you are working on right now.
Lauren: I am a Memphis native who is crazily obsessed with beautifully made things. These days, I work mostly in metal but I also hand paint sugar skulls on maple wood. Currently I’m working on a bunch of sterling silver bracelets for different orders & shops, and of course I’m prepping work for the holidays. I also just acquired all the machinery to start casting metals, so I’m in the middle of learning that process in order to incorporate it in the coming months. This will allow me to make multiples of pieces in less time, I’m a bit nervous about learning something new, but I’m so excited to see what will come of it.
Trouvé: What led you to become a full time artist?
Lauren: After graduating with my BFA in studio arts, I continued painting and waiting tables in order to make rent. I was on a budget, but I still lusted over beautifully made jewelry and clothing. As the years went on I noticed my work was increasingly influenced by my love for fashion and I decided to start creating adornments of my own. This little decision changed my way of life. Instead of searching for the perfect statement necklace to wear out on a Friday night, I was now making it. My first batch of work was primarily made of maple wood and India ink and over time I began incorporating metal into the collection. I took a couple of continuing education classes at the local college of art and began to acquire all the tools to construct a full collection. Suddenly I was running a business and beginning to live the life I knew I was capable of. I still bartend and wait tables on the side for now, but I just signed a lease to a new studio space outside my home and even though I’m terrified, I know I’m on the right path.
Trouvé: Can you tell us more about Question the Answer?
Lauren: I value quality and craftsmanship, and I will remake a piece two and three times to make it right. I just think that this is the way things should be done and I want my jewelry to last a lifetime.
Trouvé: What message do you hope you are conveying through your work?
Lauren: The name Question the Answer developed from the notion of desire, and how my own inanimate desire challenges me to question my motives. Within politics or religion, desire (or our need to fill a void) will forever be present, and that has always interested me. This is what it means for me to “question the answer” and I want to make jewelry that represents that void.
My most recent collection is entitled Eternal Curiosity, I think this encompasses the same kind of idea, that you should always remain curious and question everything. The question is the most important part. This is the type of message I hope to convey within my work.
Trouvé: Why do you create?
Lauren: I always wanted to make things for a living. My grandmother was constantly painting and sewing during my childhood, and I think she strongly influenced me to be a maker. Beyond that, I adore well made things and I think this very reason provokes me to produce lovely objects. This delightful love affair, specifically with clothing and jewelry, has always inspired me. This is what makes me feel beautiful and I find inspiration in giving my customers that same satisfaction. I create to feel beautiful.