Name: Clay McLaurin
Hometown: Jackson, GA
Current Town: Atlanta, GA
What Years at UGA: 1996-2000
School/Degree: Lamar Dodd School of Art/ BFA
Profession: Owner and Creative force behind Clay McLaurin Studio
Accolades: Work has been published in Elle Decor, Traditional Home, Lonny, Milieu, Southern Living, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles and Atlanta Home. > Named one of 15 under 40 in 2015 by Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles. Artwork has been shown nationally and internationally including the Ukraine and Japan.
What life lessons did you learn while at UGA?
No one is going to do it for you, you have to make it happen for yourself. UGA is a big school with thousands of students. If you want to make something happen it’s up to you to put the effort and the energy into it. And in doing so, I found my voice and path.
What professor did you most admire (and why)?
Prof Emeritus Glen Kaufman. He taught me the practice of becoming an artist and the importance of being patient with the artistic process. I also learned valuable knowledge of various textile techniques as well as the history of textiles that continues to serve me today.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Owning my own business, something I wanted to achieve since I was a student at UGA.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Ernst Haeckel was a 19th century biologist, naturalist, philosopher, artist and professor. He described and discovered thousands of new species. Personally, I am intrigued by the idea of new discoveries and land that was once untouched. I love collecting pods, seedlings, and other natural objects to muse their genesis. I imagine someone like Haeckel was very similar.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My grandmother was instrumental in shaping my creative spirit and aesthetic. She was passionate about gardening and design though she was never formally trained. Her eye and attention to detail was spot on and I gleaned a lot of my own passion for design from her.
Quote to live by:
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. –Maya Angelou
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Retiring on a remote island in the Caribbean with the one I love and an endless supply of Grey Goose.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My personality. I treat others the way I would want to be treated. A lot of that has to do with respect for human kind as we are all trying to navigate through this great big world.
What do you most value in your friends?
Being able to communicate well. Dialogue, whether good or bad, between friends is invaluable.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Become a more patient driver.
Who are your favorite writers (and why)?
Thomas Merton for when I’m feeling philosophical. His writing and teachings humble me and I realize not much has really changed at all. > Ferrol Sams for a good story and reminds me of my Southern childhood. > David Sedaris for a great laugh.
Fave social media and who to follow (and why)?
Instagram. Rinne Allen for beautiful everyday inspiration >> Kinfolk for the life I want to achieve >> Canvvas to give me my art fix >> Nytimes for daily news in the form of a photo
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