Neurons and Nebulas is a local small business that sells science-inspired arts and crafts.
Lauren Wright Vartanian launched her new business selling science-inspired art earlier this year. Her vision was to incorporate her love for science and art and create a unique, one-of-a-kind collection.
“I’ve always been obsessed with science, since I was a little kid, but didn’t have the grades in math or chemistry that would let me go into any of the fields I thought would be fascinating. Art was always my favourite, and where all my talents lay. Now I’m making art about the things I think are interesting and exciting,” she shared.
Wright Vartanian was born and raised in Guelph, but spent a decade in Toronto until recently returning to buy a home and start a family. After high school Wright attended the prestigious Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), graduating with a degree in drawing and painting.
Wright Vartanian went on to complete schooling in Dental Technology, where she worked making dental appliances and porcelain teeth. The process bridged her love for art and science.
After having her daughter Wright Vartanian spent her maternity leave creating art, and decided not to return to her job, instead focusing on her professional artistic endeavours.
She shared that the name of her business, Neurons and Nebulas, is a homage to her love of science.
“The name comes from my obsession with Anatomy and Astronomy, with creative licence on the improper use of nebulae,” Wright Vartanian said.
Neurons and Nebulas contains a fascinating collection of faux taxidermy sculptures, felt brooches and magnets.
Her faux taxidermy is life-like, and began after Wright Vartanian started teaching herself real taxidermy as a hobby.
“Taxidermy was fascinating because I could learn animal anatomy first hand. To me taxidermy is about species preservation and trying to honour the animal by recreating the most lifelike mount. Part of getting a lifelike mount is creating an anatomically correct sculpture as the underlying form. I was particularly concerned with getting the faces correct, and giving the animals a sweet, almost endearing expression,” she shared, explaining the process of real taxidermy.
Once she started creating faux taxidermy she used her prior knowledge and employed it while creating the sculptures. \
“The first few were very cutesy and cartoonish, but I’m finding that they are becoming more and more realistic as I keep making them. I’m also doing pet portrait commissions which have really forced me to try and make them as accurate and realistic as possible,” Wright Vartanian said.
“The sculptures are made with SuperSculpey, an oven bake clay that is then painted. Each head starts with a ball of tin foil, then I build up the clay around that. They are about 3 to 5 inches from base to snout, but I’m starting to make a few larger ones that are roughly triple the size,” sharing her sculpture process.
The magnets and brooches are designed to appear like textbook diagrams, recreated in felt. The intricate designs are made by Wright Vartanian, and the process is painstaking, she said.
For Lauren Wright Vartanian, returning home to Guelph to start her dream job has been a rewarding experience.
“I’m finding the art and makers community to be really supportive and exciting,” she said.
Products can be ordered and purchased through Instagram, where Neurons and Nebulas is most active, on Etsy, or through any of the maker’s markets listed below.
The following includes a list of upcoming shows that Neurons and Nebulas will be attending:
- Elora Handmade Market: Sunday, Oct. 29 at Wellington County Museum and Archives, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Guelph Handmade Market: Sunday, Nov. 12 at Cutten Fields, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Feminist Holiday Market: Friday, Nov. 24 at Mitchell Hall, St. George’s Church, 5 to 9 p.m.