WE HEART: Philanthropic Artist, Lauren Burman

The Ultimate Catch: Intriguing Seattleites

Photo: Annie Brady

Lauren Burman

26 | Seattle, WA

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Occupation: Professional Potter + Founder of Material Good

Why We Heart Them

This biology and sociology expert turned philanthropic artist is the kind of person that Seattle is proud to have as a Seattleite. Lauren attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and says science has always been a huge passion of hers. She joined Americorps program in Austin, Texas to teach science classes to at-risk elementary students and helped develop environmental science curriculum and create community teaching gardens at local elementary schools.

Her enthusiasm for science kept her busy working in Texas for a year, but moved back to Seattle in 2008 due to an unexpected cicumstance. “My grandmother, who was one of my best friends, was sick with liver cancer,” says Lauren.

Family always comes first for this Seattleite, and she promptly returned home to be closer to her loved ones. Immediately after her transition home, Lauren began training to run a marathon and joined Team in Training, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s marathon-training program, to run and raise money for cancer research in her grandmother’s honor.

Her determination to support the fight against cancer led her to tap into her creative side and translate her passion into a philanthropic pottery business. “I was interested in raising money in a mutually beneficial fashion,” says Lauren. “I felt that giving people a tangible gift in return for their donation would make them feel more connected to the cause — and support it on a deeper level.”

So she turned her hobby of ceramics into a passion business. Lauren owns and manages a small pottery production company called Material Good in Queen Anne. She began to make small ceramic vases, which she named “Little Shirleys”, in honor of her grandmother, Shirley Larson.

In the first few weeks that Little Shirley vases were available to the public, she says it was clear that there was something more to them than clay and glaze. “They seemed to be bringing out other peoples’ personal stories, triumphs and losses, and encouraging conversations around difficult topics,” says Lauren. “New relationships were built, understanding was gained, and the community was benefiting.”

Ten percent of proceeds from her pottery are donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but she hopes to branch out to other organizations in the next few months. Her cause based pottery can be found in local boutiques throughout Seattle, Portland and soon in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“I’m excited and proud to say I am a full-time small business owner,” says Lauren.

When she’s not busy running her company and creating beautiful hand-made pottery, Laruen enjoys dabbling in many different kinds of art, like glass bead making, photography, print making, and silk screening. Her love for art also led her to volunteer with Path with Art, a local non-profit that focuses on providing art programming to previously homeless adults with a goal of using the creative process as a tool for self-discovery, self-expression, and developing self-confidence. She is also involved with the Seattle Academy of Arts and Science High School as the Alumni Board President and Board of Trustees member.

In addition, Lauren is an avid runner, and is currently training for the Paris Marathon, as well as mentoring a group of runners who are training for races with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She also says that cooking and eating is something that soothes her soul and loves to experience it with friends and family — we are proud to call Lauren a Seattleite!

Are you intrigued and like what you see? Let us know! Email us at catch@seattleite.com.