Lizard Vase

Laurel Bender




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Laurel Bender

Artist websiteCONtact artist

Artist statement
For many years, I have been a biologist and an artist. I have always been fascinated with living things. I'm that gray-haired woman squatting on the sidewalk to watch a caterpillar walk, or pick up a colorful leaf. Over the course of more than 30 years of studying life forms large and small, I have reached a higher level of awe and appreciation for the beauty of living organisms at the macro and micro levels. Some of my pieces contain images of insects, amphibians, gastropods, etc.; fossils are imbedded in the clay or have left impressions. In these pieces, I aim to apply a scientific, observational eye, but also to bring out the beauty and charm of diverse critters. Other pieces are more abstract. Much of my work expresses my personal spirituality and my association with Judaism.

Artist biography
I received my B.S. in biochemistry from Penn State in 1978, and my Ph.D. in molecular biology from Yale in 1985. During my university years, I took art courses whenever I could fit them in - ceramics, drawing, oils, art history. As a postdoc, I worked in university labs in Eugene, OR; Ann Arbor, MI; and IU; until retiring in 2014. From 1995 through 1999, I took time off from science to take ceramics, drawing, and art history classes at IU, as a non-degree student. Among my teachers were Tim Mather, John Goodheart, and Barb Bihler. Currently I am self-employed, making pots and sewing quirky, whimsical clothing and accessories from vintage and repurposed fabrics. I have been involved for many years in the Bloomington Annual Trashion Refashion Show as an organizer and artist, and in the Beth Shalom Art Fair and Bazaar as co-chair and artist. I was a co-founder and artist for the Discardia ReBoutique, and I have shown my work in many art fairs and galleries in and near Bloomington.