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Laura Lein-Svencner Revels in the Tactile Approach & Artistic Layering Found in Her Prized Collages

Laura has explored many types of art making, but the love of paper is what drives her creations today. Scroll down to see her collages...

After 26 years of collage making and teaching, Laura, a Darien, IL resident readily acknowledges she’s still learning. And though she is an award-winning career artist, she notes that an art career can be a struggle. For Laura, finding a silent mentor in the inspirational books about creativity by Julia Cameron was just the prompting her daily life needed. Best-selling author, Julia Cameron, is perhaps best known for her The Artist’s Way book series. Currently, Laura participates in a ZOOM book discussion group exploring Cameron’s latest publication, The Listening Path.

“This book teaches us how the noise of life can stifle listening to ourselves,” Laura says. “I love her books and still follow the directives in her first book, The Artist’s Way, with daily walks, sketching, artist dates, and writing morning pages. Following these steps helps us heal, grow, generate new ideas, and practice well-being. Being creatively productive is a wonderful thing.”

Laura describes herself as a very tactile person and was always attracted to the art of collage. She enjoys using her fingers as she pieces a project together until “the door just swings open” as she says, and suddenly it takes shape.

While still a child in third grade, Laura recalls hanging with her classroom teacher after school who asked her to help with the bulletin boards. She’d staple, cut, work with construction paper and did a lot of drawings. These early projects mirrored the collage artistry she’d later bring to her adult years.

Since then, she’s taken classes and dabbled in many types of art from pottery and printmaking to jewelry design. Along the way she continued receiving much encouragement from her art teachers.

Marrying young and having four children kept her busy until returning to art again in 1995. She credits taking an eye-opening class at College of DuPage on how to market your own art. The information helped her learn the business side and propelled her toward that goal. A fellow student asked to see her work and bought everything she showed her. That student then sent them to her boyfriend’s Wyoming-based art gallery underscoring to Laura that she was on the right path.

Laura used her COVID time to give herself assignments where she devised working her projects into a themed series. She turned to the wisdom found in the indigenous peoples' Medicine Wheel. This led to a variety of spiritual concepts that prompted introspective questions. Guiding her creative thought process, she asked herself: Who am I? Where am I going? Why am I here?

Laura’s keen eye makes good use of repurposing any type of paper from old books and magazines to maps, tissue papers, and even grocery bags. She’ll then start embroidering these elements with the addition of themes and symbols, stamps and stencils, glazing with acrylic and topping with Gesso. Building and layering until it all comes together, like a door swinging open. She’s also careful to disguise whatever elements she’s used to avoid any copyright issues.

Laura’s weekly art life is very busy as an instructor, author, demonstrator, and workshop facilitator. She’s represented in these galleries:

The Clearing in Ellison Bay, WI; and Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor, Door County, WI.

Her works have been published in a variety of magazines. She has two self-published books, Learn the Basics of Design with Collage and Tack Down Tuesdays – the name of her weekly blog.

Obviously, creativity is Laura’s lifework as she sums up, “At age 85, I still want to be found taking a piece of my artwork to some gallery!”

Laura is a signature member of the National Collage Society and co-founder of the Midwest Collage Society.

Find her here:


Scroll down to see more of her artwork.

Bigger Picture; 24 x 24 collage on wood panel; $950

Greater She-Bear; 18 x 24; collage on wood panel; $950

Wisdom She Wolf; 24 x 24; collage on wood panel; $950

Greet the Morning; 12 x 12 collage on watercolor paper; $285

Home Under the Big Moon; 24 x 24; Collage on Wood Panel; $950

Section of Scroll Sketch; Woodpecker Shield; NFS

Old Green Barn; 12 x 12; collage on watercolor paper; $285


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