Lauren Hill, creator and owner of Made With Love, Lauren, makes beautiful polymer clay earrings. Swirling colors and dazzling shapes dangle on petite hoops or studs, or they go big as stunning statement pieces. Made from polymer clay, the earrings are lightweight and on trend. “I think polymer clay has been a popular medium because it's extremely lightweight and flexible, which makes it durable, and the possibilities are endless in terms of creativity!” she says.
Hill, for her own part, loves the creativity aspect of her work. Perhaps her favorite piece is her "willow" earring, which she designed to have three tiers. “It's super flowy and the color combinations are endless.” Meanwhile she is also working on a new technique using water-dissolving paper to transfer color and prints onto the clay. “I bake it then resin it to get the most beautiful finished piece! My best seller, however, is called the "spotted stunner," she says. “It's a white circle with black dots, and a burnt orange stud! It's the perfect neutral-yet-fun staple piece.”
Hill first discovered polymer clay jewelry on Pinterest. “The same day I saw polymer clay on Pinterest, I went straight to the craft store and bought what I thought I needed!” she says. She reveals that she needed to do a bit more research about the clay since there are so many different types available used for a myriad of purposes.
“I learned through trial and error, and countless hours of research and finally perfected my craft! It's amazing to look back and see pieces I made in the beginning versus now.” It turns out, polymer clay is really a type of modeling clay, and it’s created from manmade materials, though it resembles natural clay and is just as flexible. Attracting the attention of artists for its distinctive properties, the clay doesn’t fully harden until it is baked in an oven to become the wonderous pieces artists like Hill make.
But polymer clay’s unique abilities aren’t the only reason Hill ultimately chose to create her own business. Like many during 2020, Hill was looking for a creative outlet and a means to support her family. “I was in grad school getting my masters in speech language pathology. I was doing my clinical work during the days and needed a way to make an income but didn't want to spend any more time away from my home and family,” she says. She also wanted to do something that could be done simply at home. The clay can be baked in home ovens and doesn’t require any specialized equipment. “Thus, I created Made With Love, Lauren,” she says.
Hill has been surprised by the results. “I didn't go into [the business] having any expectations—I thought I may sell some pieces to my friends and family, but I never intended it to overtake my original career!” Two years later, and she is working full-time as a speech language pathologist, which she balances with the thriving business she has built. “I think in the past couple of years there has been a bigger push of supporting small and local businesses opposed to big box retailers,” she says. At the same time, people are rethinking work and where it can be performed. “I think there has been a shift in thinking that we all have to work outside the home. The pandemic proved we can do productive things from inside our homes!”