Creative Catch Up with To The Trees

Meet Lauren, the artist and illustrator behind To The Trees! Living and working on Dharug & Gundungurra Land in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Lauren creates original artworks that she reproduces into various products, including greeting cards, art prints, earrings and calendars. Her work has a strong focus on native Australian plants and animals and also our relationship as humans with the earth and each other.

Discover Lauren’s beautiful work in person at the Sydney Design Market, held at the Hordern Pavilion on the 8th – 10th of December.

Photo by Samee Lapham

The last time we interviewed you was in 2014, can you update us on your maker journey since then?

A lot has changed since then, I have rebranded from ‘Lauren Merrick Illustration’ to ‘To The Trees’ and I’ve moved into designing jewellery and releasing a calendar every year. My vision for my work has become clearer too and I’m committed to creating work that celebrates and seeks to re-establish our innate connection with nature.

How has your work evolved over the last 10 years?

I feel like my work has become bolder and more confident. 10 years ago, I would have said, “I can not and do not draw people”. Now, illustrating people in scenes of nature and community is what I do most of the time. 5 years ago, I decided I wanted to use my hands more than when I was only painting. My work expanded into mark-making for textures to use in collage, and I fell in love with carving Lino and rubber for stamps and block printing.

Photo by Samee Lapham

What can shoppers expect from your Finders Keepers Stall?

I hope warmth and familiarity as shoppers recognise and connect with favourite birds, flowers and scenes. I’ll have my NEW 2024 calendar made in Australia with recycled paper, hemp binding and featuring 12 new art works. It’s been a real labour of love and there was a moment when I thought I wouldn’t get it done, so I’m really proud to have completed it. The artworks explore the seasons and how we as humans interact with nature and each other throughout the year. Highlighting opportunities to engage with nature through foraging, eating seasonally and camping as well as sharing and supporting community through Mardi Gras, porch singalongs and fireside chats.

What is your favourite piece that you have created?

I am really fond of a brand new artwork I made for December in the new 2024 calendar. It’s an adult and child picking raspberries. It’s a really different composition for me and I’m proud of how it turned out. I also connect with it deeply as it is based off memories of picking raspberries in our own garden with my kids, fingers crossed for another bumper crop this season!

Any exciting projects coming up for you in 2024?

I am looking forward to having a bit more time on my hands after hiring my first studio assistant and exploring products I’ve been thinking of for a long time – like fabrics, t-shirts and releasing collections of earrings and wearable art that supports charities and First Nations businesses close to my heart.

You’ve done markets with us for many years, can you share some advice for new stallholders?

I’ve learnt that it’s ok not to have everything perfect the first time or even the 10th time. Sometimes I can feel a bit down because I compare my stand to others but I remind myself that I’m in my own lane, doing the best I can and always open to learning and adapting as I continue.

If your market stall had a mascot, what would it be, and what quirky antics would it get up to?

I think my market mascot would be a little magpie, having a little sing-song at times and peering inquisitively at market goers.

Are there any other makers you’re excited to see at the Sydney Finders Keepers Market?

I have started a tradition of buying myself a gift from Emma Field Jewellery, Airr Made Ceramics is a favourite, too – I love using my watercolour palette I purchased from her at the last Finders Keepers, and I always make sure to stock up on Little Rowan Redhead for the most stunning block print cards and prints.

Connect with To The Trees:

Find To The Trees at:
Sydney Design Market
Friday 8th December 4pm – 9pm
Saturday 9th December 10am – 5pm
Sunday 10th December 10am – 5pm
Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park
Get Tickets Here
RSVP on Facebook

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