In the l960s, Laurel Burch was selling her work on the streets of
San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. Today this flower
child'' is a nationally famous artist and designer who fluently
speaks the universal language of art. Though she has never taken
an art class, Laurels trademark style is the manifestation
of her strong, imaginative spirit.
Growing up as a young girl in southern California, Laurel was the child
on the block who brought everyone together through the world of imagination.
Frequently hospitalized because of a rare bone disease, osteopetrosis,
young Laurel would make things happen while recovering in the hospital-creating
stories and making small gifts to cheer up the other patients. At the
age of seven she was already spiritually precocious, using her physical
obstacles as stepping stones to her inner strengths.
As a young woman, Laurel saw intrinsic beauty in the streets. She collected
stones, bones, beads, and coins, joined them together, then polished them
and wore her creations. When passersby admired a piece of her jewelry,
she responded by giving it to them. People identified with and valued
the kind of global spirit her work expressed, and soon she was able to
sell the pieces she created.
This self-taught artist has since expanded her design to coffee mugs,
clothing, tote bags, prints, fabric, buttons and note cards through The
Laurel Burch Design Studio. Laurel considers herself to be more of a folk
artist than a designer, creating symbols and myths that communicate universally.
She paints images that represent her own values, yet at the same time
provide a bridge between cultures, and honor the common ground.
The whole purpose of my art is to express beauty and meaning, and most
of all connect people to one another in special ways.
Laurel furthers this commitment through her involvement within the community.
She contributes her talents to causes supporting children, the disabled,
animal welfare, disease prevention, and global conservation.
The strong, uplifting spirit of Laurel Burch is evident in her art and
in her life. I have had to overcome such an enormous number of obstacles
that I have developed a belief system which allows me to feel like I can
accomplish almost anything. Of course, I cant, but sometimes the
courage to say I can' is all it takes.