Installment two of our Artist Series: Studio Tour with Hustle & Throw.
Lauren, the owner of Hustle & Throw is one of our fave neighbors in the Downtown Bozeman, Montana Community. If you're lucky enough, she might just be around next time you stop by our store!
Take a step into her studio and learn more about making ceramics and owning a small business!
Q: What roles do you have in your business?
A: Allllllmost all of them! I tend to be very bad at asking for help, so this is my year to ask away and so I have hired an accountant, a tax person, a designer to craft a logo (yeaaaa don’t have one yet) and most recently a dear friend to help copy write my website and get me consistent on all platforms! It’s feeling very adult of me...but other than that I do all material ordering for me & my tenants, I run all firings, I make each and every item I sell, I do my own events, I teach and do group events. Give me all the hats!
Q: What is your favorite thing to make?
A: I love a nice, aligned, cylinder. Jus nothing better in my eyes, and I love that they keep me on my toes. It’s the hardest shape to learn when you start out, and is always a good reminder that you are working WITH a natural material, not that the material is working for you, it’s a balance that I love finding...but I do have a lot of fun making the accordion shapes, and I love making really big pots by throwing 2-4 pieces and then attaching, and throwing through all the pieces to create one piece. I love to just play also, some times I just cut up a 25-pound block into random weights and go for it, see where things take me, it’s not often, but when I get that space it is magical!
Q: How did Hustle & Throw start?
A: I moved to Montana from central Vermont In 2015, where I worked at a very large, city-owned nonprofit clay studio as a studio monitor and part-time assistant teacher. We had classes, kids camps, and mostly the studio was used to give locals a place to work as a community. We had 60 members, 20 volunteers, and two studio managers. I was a volunteer and got to experience what the clay studio offered the community, how it brought folks together, and I continually soaked up the energy and creativity that is created in a space like that. So when I moved here, I started teaching at the Emerson and consistently had the same 8-12 students per session. I realized there wasn’t anywhere to practice once you have taken a class, and the fact that I had so many repeats every session meant new folks were never able to get in a class...I also knew I could never afford a studio space the size I wanted without sharing it, so in the summer of 2017, I happened to find my dream space downtown in Bozeman. I got enough of my past students to commit to renting from me for 6 months, I ordered a kiln, three wheels, a bunch of tools, and a pallet of clay and we were off! It’s been almost 3 years and I still have 90% of the same renters as I did the first month, and we still just cruise along working collectively :)
Q: Is there a story behind the name?
A: Well...depends when you were born :) if you’ve seen the movie Hustle & Flow, which happens to be about a pimp in Tennessee who wants to get outta the pimp game and into the music industry, it’s great, I highly recommend if you love a good, cheesy, early 2000’s movie...so it’s a play on that, but I also used to work more than a normal human should ever work (I had 6 Jobs the first year I lived here) and I love to jus go go gooooo! I still do, but I am in my 30’s now and have since realized that I am on the “work smarter, not harder” train these days, and since COVID has slowed us all down, I have taken note and am actually more productive in a 6 hour day than I was last summer in a 13 hour day...which I did ALL LAST SUMMER...took me a long time to realize, but I’m pretty happy to have found this new balance.
Q: What is your favorite tool in your studio?
A: Hard to choose, but I am pretty obsessed with my Shimpo Whisper wheel...she’s quiet, I can (awkwardly) pick her up myself, she’s got a hell of a motor, she looks damn good, and she’s a champion. She went to the farmers market and art walks and even rolled down the street a few times! But also couldn’t do the production I do without my trimming assistant, the Giffin Grip, appreciate you daily GG! And, obvi, couldn’t do ANYTHING without my amazing workhorse of a kiln, my beauty Skutt KM1227-3, love you long time!
Q: Tips for ceramicists (or other artists and makers) just starting out?
A: Learn the entire process before you let it steal your heart. It is quite possibly the most upsetting or heart-lifting craft, but only when done safely, with an open mind. If you feel it in your bones that you love this craft, keep going, keep throwing, keep practicing, stay healthy, and take care of yourself. Don’t be shy, ask the questions, get the education that feels right for you, and keep practicing again. If it is a hobby that you picked up in high school or college that you enjoy, look for a cultural center or community center where you can volunteer and really learn the whole process. It’s a shit ton of work to keep a clay studio going even if it’s just for yourself...there are also a ton of health hazards (think, handling raw silica...) to physical ailments. Like, it takes me about 15 minutes to just warm my back up enough to get out of bed every. damn. day. I’m only 31 folks...but have been practicing since I was 15, so it’s just in the cards!
Q: Where can people shop your work?
A: Funny you ask! As of July 1st, you’ll be able to shop me at Intrigue Ink on Main Street in Bozeman! But also if you’re in Bozeman you can always try the Farmer’s Daughter Cafe. I do have a website as well, I do manage it, so the inventory and general look might not always be totally up to date, Intrigue Ink is the best!
Q: What's your favorite thing to listen to in your studio?
A: Oh man, well I am a huge NPR fan since I am free to listen to whatever I want it’s nice to break up music and podcasts with the news...but shit is heavy these days, so I love me some Caamp, Grace Potter, The Devil Makes Three, Shakey Graves, Khalid, Beyoncé, Childish Gambino, and my main man, Drake, I know it’s a wild mix, but I love everything minus some country, interpretive jazz, and opera...so lemme listen, I might be down!
Keep up with Lauren on Instagram @hustle.throw.studio...her Live sessions are super relaxing...and informative!
Shop Lauren's work in our store, or on her website!