LH Woman: Lauren Cassar

LH Woman: Lauren Cassar
Meet Lauren Cassar; Mother, Art Therapist, Artist and founder of Mirador. We had a wonderful chat to Lauren about her work as an art therapist, motherhood and what inspires her.
Thank you so much for taking the time to let us introduce you to our community, we are so excited to feature you on our LH Woman series. Firstly, I’d love for you to introduce yourself; Who are you? What do you do and what takes up most of your day to day?
Hello! I am Lauren. I am a mother to my son Rui, I am a painter and run a small creative practice called Mirador. I’m also a qualified art therapist. At the moment I care for my son, Rui who is almost one, and I squeeze painting in between his nap times. 
We first met during our time spent up north in Fitzroy Crossing for Design Within Country, a project that connects young people of Fitzroy Crossing, with city-based creatives and mentors on country to create a fashion collection. Why do you think projects like these are so important? 
To be invited to spend time in the Kimberly and collaborate with local artists and makers was a sincere honour. I think these projects are important because we were invited, we were “walking together” in a sense, healing and repairing, one friendship at a time. What seems most important however is the ongoing nature of the “DWC design within country” project - it’s not a quick drop into a community for a few weeks and never go back - the project (prior to the pandemic) stretched across in both Melbourne and the Kimberely. We visit each other and make together side by side, sharing wisdom and creativity. You and I have been lucky enough to visit the Kimberly a number of times, and forge lifelong friendships. We get dusty and hot when we visit, and the ladies from up north get all chilly and rugged up when they visit us down south.  

During your time up in Fitzroy Crossing you also did Art Therapy with local families. I’d love to know more about Art Therapy, what is it? How did you get into it and why do you think it’s an important practice? 
Art Therapy looks simple, but it really isn’t. It’s a beautiful, gentle therapy that aims to support people to process their life experiences, by encouraging developmentally appropriate experimentation, storytelling, and self-expression by way of using materials and play. It is rooted in neuroscience and humanism. The therapist holds a lot of wisdom in the space, but depending on what a client needs, can be equal in their vulnerability, or someone else entirely, for example, holding the stance of a “watchful mother”. I often think there is a little magic involved, but I truly believe that the therapeutic relationship, combined with art making and storytelling is very healing. 
There are a few things that lead me to study my masters Art Therapy, but one was watching a Four Corners episode in 2016 on foster care in Australia. When I found out that there were over 18,000 children in out-of-home care alone in New South Wales, I just couldn’t shake it and began looking into how I can use my skills to perhaps one day support these children and their families. I also worked at Bangarra Dance Theatre at the time, and well, if you have been to see the company perform, you will have witnessed first-hand that making art, dancing and creating is strengthening and healing. 
I’m very grateful to be now working and supporting children and mothers therapeutically who are involved in the foster care system. 
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into Art Therapy? 
You can watch THIS amazing film just released! And reach out to me with any questions! 

 Not only are you an Art Therapist but you are also an incredible Artist! Have you always been a creative? What would you say inspires you the most when creating?

I normally go on holiday or camping so I can let my creative mind breathe and take in new sights and scenes to feed my curiosity, but after having my baby during the pandemic, and spending most of the time in lockdown or in close proximity to my home, my paintings unsurprisingly feature domestic scenes of late, looking out a window, with a hint of nature. I have mother nature to thank for all my creativity! We collaborate all the time :) 
People can engage with your beautiful artwork through your brand, Mirador. Tell us a little bit more about Mirador …

Mirador started as a small textile label, creating sarongs every summer and woollen wraps every Winter. It is now more of an extension of my creative practice, and I create something when I feel inspired to. I’m so glad I have Mirador to funnel my creativity into, as being a new mum can feel all-consuming sometimes and it’s a real escape for me.
You have also recently become a Mother to your beautiful baby boy, Congrats! How has your journey into motherhood been? 

Thanks Lois! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I was basically in lockdown for my entire pregnancy and for the majority of my son’s life thus far, so it has been quite isolating at times, but on the other hand I'm so grateful to have been with my boy almost every single moment. I haven’t missed a beat, which is something I will never take for granted. I have a very supportive partner Will who is a wonderful father, and together we have somehow made it this far, as Rui, our boy, is one in a few weeks! Rui is a very joyous being. Looking into his eyes is my favourite thing to do. He knows so much already. 
What advice would you give, to new mothers, that helped you through your journey?  
Motherhood is so complex and has at times completely thrown me. To get me by in moments when I have felt lost, I always turn to literature. At the moment I am reading ‘Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself’ by Jungian analyst Lisa Marchiano’ which has been very grounding for me. Lisa Marchiano invites you to get to know yourself better through the motherhood role by analysing universal themes, fables and architebes of motherhood. I recommended anyone who identifies as a mother to read it. 

And, lastly, I’d love to know what your favourite piece from my new range Holiday is and why?
I completely adore your Amalfi Dress. A beautiful summer staple, in a delectable weighted linen and the button down is great for breastfeeding. 
You can follow along Lauren's journey on Instagram HERE and check out her beautiful work online HERE
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