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  • GR Mother's Day Feature: Laurel Dugan
  • Leigh Ann Cobb

GR Mother's Day Feature: Laurel Dugan

In preparation for Mother's day we here at L&B wanted to highlight some amazing moms in our area. It was tough to pick just two with so many fantastic women in our midst! Our Grand Rapids team chose to feature Laurel, a local artist and trend-setter. We were lucky enough to sit down with her in her East Grand Rapids home while most of her children were at school to chat about her artwork, motherhood and daily mantras. Here is that interview:

So Laurel, tell us about yourself...

I grew up (mostly) in GR, loving all things art, music, and fashion. I was interested in fashion from a young age and worshipped my art teachers. Mostly in childhood and teenagerhood, though, I focused on music. I trained as a classical pianist and flutist. When choosing a college, I realized my passion lay in the visual arts. Now I am so grateful for those years of practicing instruments and struggling to learn and perfect pieces, because it is through the discipline of learning music that I understand myself as a visual artist.

How many children do you have, and age range:

4 Children: A daughter who is 10; and 3 sons: 8, 4, and 18 mos.

In 3 words, how do you describe your fashion?

Creative, inventive, eclectic. I like to be stylish, but I never want to be part of the pack. I also tend to change styles with my moods. 

How long have you been in West Michigan? Have you lived anywhere else? 

I was born in GR and mostly grew up here. I’ve been lucky enough to live in two small towns in Iowa; Overland Park, KS; Rome, Italy; Montclair, NJ; Silver Spring, MD; and Washington, DC. In 2003, I married another Grand Rapidian—and moved to the East Coast. After 9 years there, we decided there was no place like home. We returned to GR in August 2012 and are happy to be back.

Your favorite part of living in Grand Rapids? 

Grand Rapids is a beautiful, accessible city with so much to offer. I didn’t appreciate that until I lived away from here.

Favorite Family activity?

We've been reading poetry together lately...perhaps reading and playing at Lake Michigan would be our favorite. 

What's you favorite item you ever bought at L&B?

Truly, that is a tough one—probably everything by Gypsy, DL jeans...I have a blue dress by Gypsy that I'm dying for warm enough weather to wear! I also have a bracelet of strands of black suede with beads on them and a magnetic clasp that I love and wear with everything.

Any hobbies?

Playing piano and singing. I recently began learning Gregorian Chant and am learning to read square notation. I love to learn the history that comes with the territory of learning historical music. 

We would love to discuss your Featured Talent: your artwork! When did you start? 

Hmm...babyhood? I always made things, and I was always fascinated by drawing and painting. 

How did you get into it? 

It's sort of a chicken and egg situation – –I think it was born in me, but my mother was also very culturally aware. She took me to a lot of museums, plays, ballets, and concerts growing up. I took classes--lots of random classes!--on making things. There was a period of time when I spun wool into yarn on a traditional drop spindle. It was always for fun, never any pressure… it was just very organic. I'm not sure when I realized I loved art and music above other things. 

Have you presented your art locally?

Locally at Crafthouse and Richard App Gallery (+ The BOB for the first Artprize). Also, I was fortunate to have my illustrations chosen to be the face of The Old Goat restaurant—opening soon! I also am designing their menus.

You feature children and motherhood a lot in your work, discuss: 

It was clear to my teachers at the Washington studio school that being a mother--and I would add wife--as well as an artist was so much a part of my identity that it would be a mistake not to plum that for my work. (As an artist friend of mine wisely said, "Great art comes from life lived.") I'm very grateful for those teachers' insights. I've been traveling down this path of discovery of what my work is supposed to be for a few years now. I think about a year ago I started really finding my voice. I'm very excited about the body of work that I'm producing now. 

Favorite part of motherhood/being a mother?

I think experiencing the love that is begotten by love. In other words, that giving love creates more love, and children are a natural result of that love. I’m so grateful to be part of it.

One piece of advice for new mothers: 

Let motherhood make you more who you are supposed to be. 

Thanks again to Laurel for taking time out of her busy schedule to share some of the more intimate moments of her day. To see more of Laurel's beautiful artwork visit her website here: www.laureldugan.com. To shop Laurel's look visit us in store or online:

Bella Dahl Pool Side tank | Paige Denim Skyline Ankle | Luca + Stella Bracelets | Bourbon & Boweties bangles



  • Leigh Ann Cobb

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