Our newest Living High Vibe video went live last week! This month, we're sharing an eye-opening experience we had in one of our favorite places...Hawaii.
Lauren Shearer can make anything into a lei, and we mean anything!
Combining a tradition thousands of years old with contemporary activism and beautiful artistry, Lauren handcrafts lei as a way to pay homage to her Hawaiian roots and advocate for local businesses and sustainability.
The lei Lauren creates are beautiful and powerful—politically, emotionally, artistically. Spending time with her to witness her creations, you cannot help but be inspired to take a closer look at the Flora + Fauna in your life, too.
The Hawaii Flora + Fauna Q&A
What launched you into the unique work you’re doing now?
Lei has always been a constant throughout my life. I was born and raised on the island of Maui and was exposed to the tradition of lei making and gifting at a young age. I was always one to make lei for friends birthdays or special occasions.
After graduating from college I was doing a lot of wood work and I started experimenting with lei making again. It wasn't until I realized that everything can be made into a lei that I constantly began to experiment and delve out of the comfort zone of "generic" lei flowers. This creation leaves so much room for creativity.
This craft is one that began thousands of years ago, however I am using a traditional art and am combining it with a modern and contemporary style.
I am also using this art form as an educational tool, an environmental tool, and a cultural tool. There is an opportunity to change the market which is currently very homogenous and doesn’t always rely on local product.
In one sentence, what’s your advice for people trying to find their thing?
Everyone has a “thing” or an “essence” that can be shared in so many different ways. It isn’t always easy to find, however when you do you have to run with it. There were so many people who would tell me that I will never make a living off of making lei, but hey my passion turned into a business. It never feels like work and I love it so much. Follow your heart and passions!
What does “Living High Vibe” mean to you?
Living High Vibe to me means reaching your highest potential and having compassion. To be able to live your vibe and spread it is following through with this. It is like a vibration, and trying to keep that vibration consistent.
Where do you find inspiration?
The root of my inspiration is in my natural surroundings. My eyes are constantly roaming the flora around me and inspiring me to create leis out of flowers that are otherwise overlooked. I love to use all parts of the plant and try to recreate exactly how it grows in nature.
What is the hardest aspect of your work for you to tackle?
Because I am foraging all over Maui a lot of my time is spent driving. My goal is to create a lei garden that would include the plants I work with the most. I wish I could have a personal driver so I can make the lei while traveling around the island looking for exciting flora.
What fictional character would you like to be and why?
Inspector Gadget, because he has the right tool for every job and sometimes I wish I had a hundred hands to get all the projects done in super power time.
How do you describe your vibe?
I would describe my vibe as the wind. I have to go with it, adapting and flowing with it wherever it goes. I like to be free and not contained to one spot.
What’s next for you? #futureprojects
I have so many ideas constantly running through my head. With every lei I make I am photographing it and hoping to create a book that will categorize the floral (and possibly faunal) splendor of Hawai’i. This is one of many projects. I am also collaborating and making lei shadow boxes and lei lights. I feel I have not even scratched the surface of the lei world as each lei has new meaning and a unique aesthetic.
Favorite social media platform, and why?
Instagram, of course!! This is how I generate awareness of my lei business and where I actually receive most of my orders.I love its simplicity, power, and the reach it has.
If you could take one trip anywhere right now, where would it be?
There are so many places in this world I would love to go. I really want to travel as much as possible and make lei along all my journey’s, sharing and spreading a beautiful tradition. But if I had to choose one place I would go to Africa and go on a safari, I have been dreaming (literally) about seeing the giraffes and lions roaming the savanna’s.
Flora and Fauna sprouted out of a hobby and passion that I have been practicing most of my life. I am born and raised in Maui, Hawaii and now successfully run a custom lei making business.
My mission is to bring awareness to our surrounding natures no matter where you are in the world. The culture, nature, floras, and faunas of Hawaii is a constant inspiration. It wasn't until I realized that everything can be made into a lei that I constantly began to experiment and delve out of the comfort zone of "generic" lei flowers. This creation leaves so much creativity for a different product.
This craft is one that began thousands of years ago, however I am using a traditional art I am combining it with a modern and contemporary style.
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