Page 27 - Vigore AUGUST 2012 copy

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Lauren M. Lowell: Textile artist behind ...loved again...

It is so hard to label one's self. Mama, friend, daughter, sister, professor, artist….yup, that about sums it up for me.

Born and raised in Brighton, MI, I am a tenured professor in the Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance. I came to Bloomington-Normal, IL by way of Athens, GA (where I earned my MFA at University of Georgia) and Mt. Pleasant, MI (my bachelor's is from Central Michigan University) with summer residencies working professional summer theatre in the North Carolina Mountains (5 years at the Highlands Playhouse, Highlands, NC) sprinkled in.  I have lived here in Illinois for 11 years and am very much in love with this community. I am well entrenched in crazy realm of motherhood with an adorable daughter (Lila Joon), handsome son (Eliot Mason), and mischievous dog (Oliver Warbucks). My world is filled with one surprise after another and I try to take the time to enjoy each and every one. I work professionally and academically in the entertainment design industry as a costume designer and the local community as both a professional face-painter (with Wild Style Design Company) and textile artist.

...loved again... began approximately three and a half years ago. I made my first rag doll when my daughter (then 4 years old) spent a week with the flu. I felt the need to entertain myself (I have a hard time sitting idle) and reward her for patiently waiting out her illness in bed (she takes after her mom). My solution: I found a couple of old worn out pajama pants, cut them up, and made them into a doll for her. They fell in love with each other. Shortly after, I made 10 dolls and took them to a local craft show. The following two summers, I sold them at the 

Bloomington Farmer's Market and Artist Alley when I added the dresses and various other items, earning me the nickname of "The Recycled Dress Lady." Last fall, I placed the full line on sale at The Pod of Normal, IL where they have been exclusively featured ever since.

Since the first doll I have created all of my items from textiles that have lived out their life as clothing—items that were loved and are now outdated or worn out. In an effort to keep some of the unwanted items out of the landfills, I enjoy revamping them into something that will

instead be cherished in its new role. Doll faces and 

embellishments  are created using simple hand embroidery and appliqué techniques. Without small parts, the lovies are safe for tender hearts of all ages. 

I enjoyed making the dolls so much, I began looking for other children's items to create. As a costume designer, I spend quite a bit of time poking around thrift stores and garage sales. I come across so much clothing that is outdated or undesired (think about those family reunion and church camp t-shirts or particularly dated ladies' print

skirts and dresses). If the clothing is not purchased in an alotted amount of time, often the thrift establishment disposes of them.

Because they have often been washed numerous times--thus softening up the fiber in the process--these items are wonderful for making lovies and new unique items. For example, those camp T-shirts make great Super Kid Capes and those printed skirts make lovely tunic dresses for much shorter "ladies". All items are entirely and uniquely made from up-cycled clothing items in an effort to keep them from being thrown away. Each piece has been assembled in the hope of finding love again. 

As a textile artist I love working with bright colors and contrasting textures. I find machined knits (especially T-shirts) a fascinating medium and love experimenting with ways to cut, stitch and embellish them. It is pretty amazing what can be created from an old T-shirt. As a mom of two amicable kids that find their way to lots of birthday parties, I love coming up with things that become treasured, memorable, unique gifts. The Super Kid Capes and Owls are great example of ideas that have literally gone viral amongst my kids friends. My own short people are often spotted around Blo-No sporting their "Super L" and "Super E" capes.

I love creating custom projects. Favorite textile items can be turned in to special gifts, for example baby clothes make wonderful dolls or critters as a keepsake. I would love to make a special lovey or garment for you.  

If you have questions about my products, please contact me via email at

L oved ..



Page 27 - Vigore AUGUST 2012 copy

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