#017 – Lauren Phelps: On Creativity, Pursuing Dreams, and Motherhood

Lauren Phelps is an accomplished creative entrepreneur. I first knew Lauren as she achieved great success with her clothing line LEONA then as a client when I had the opportunity to photograph several seasonal lookbooks of her fashion designs.

“But for me the art is like my sacred place, and I don’t want it to ever not be because that’s when it becomes something I don’t want it to be in my life.”

~Lauren Phelps

She has continued her creative endeavors since then and now lives in New York where she continued her work in fashion then turned into an even deeper creative direction, which, of course, we talk about here.

And as always, we feature a Non-Profit Spotlight selected by our guest. Kick back and enjoy this conversation with Lauren Phelps.




  • 0:02:20 Nashville Fashion Week “Nashville Fashion Forward Fund” award
  • 0:08:58 Where Lauren’s creativity comes from
  • 0:13:03 CEO as a title
  • 0:20:20 Closing LEONA
  • 0:23:14 Sweet home Alabama
  • 0:28:28 Alabama to Nashville to New York
  • 0:31:10 Why Paris
  • 0:31:34 COO of Brandon Maxwell
  • 0:34:37 Non-Profit Spotlight: Samual Waxman Cancer Research Foundation
  • 0:36:59 Lauren’s mother
  • 0:43:32 How motherhood has impacted Lauren’s work and world
  • 0:47:17 “Each baby brings its own loaf of bread”
  • 0:49:26 Motherhood and mothering without a mother
  • 0:54:16 Moving to visual arts
  • 0:58:21 Choosing materials for mixed media pieces
  • 0:59:40 Lauren’s creative process
  • 1:02:37 Monochromania
  • 1:05:37 My creative envy
  • 1:08:03 Conversation as an audio portrait
  • 1:11:03 “If you could have one more conversation with your Mom…”
  • 1:12:44 Closing remarks


Learn more about Lauren Phelps at these links
Official Website | Instagram | Facebook


Here’s a small sampling of pieces from Lauren’s clothing line LEONA, discussed in this episode from 0:02:20 – 0:23:14. Over a two-year period, Lauren created 350+ pieces.




Lauren Phelps photographed in her art studio. Photo courtesy of Lauren Phelps.


“Origin” mixed media by Lauren Phelps


“Interface” mixed media by Lauren Phelps


Finally, toward the end of our conversation (at 1:09:13), the topic turns to the give-and-take exchange that makes a good conversation as described in the give-and-take exchange of a photographic portrait session. Here are two film clips from Somewhere In Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. First clip below sets the scene…

…and this clip delivers the magic. Enjoy.


This episode’s Non-Profit Spotlight supports Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. The mission of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) is to eradicate cancer by funding collaborative cross-institutional research that identifies and corrects abnormal gene function that causes cancer. This research is the basis for developing minimally toxic treatments for patients, which is particularly crucial for children and seniors battling cancer.

Learn more about Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation at


For more conversations in this series, follow Collected Clan at these online destinations:


Your thoughts, comments, and questions are welcome. Here’s how:

#009 – Bonus: Mother’s Day Memos…Saying It Forward

In this bonus episode, I have a special treat for you.

This episode is a collection of unreleased material from previous episodes with guests who are mothers. This podcast series is all about conversation, which is much more than an interview. They’re two-sided; not just one-sided Q&A. To that end, I don’t keep a list of questions to ask every guest.

Except in this case.

There’s one question I asked each guest. One topic, rather, that I covered with each guest. And that’s what I have in store for you today.

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” ~Elizabeth Stone

I asked each guest to say something to and for each of their children so that, when their children come across this recording years from now – however they find it – because once it’s online it’s online forever – a time capsule of love notes, encouragements, and affirmations from these mothers’ hearts to their children.

And this is so needed today, which is one of the reasons this podcast exists. As a society in recent years, we’ve done a lot of talking AT each other instead of talking WITH each other … or in this case using words FOR another. This is missing in our society, and this is my way of adding a raindrop to the ocean and trying to create a ripple of change. Planting seeds now that will grow into something of greater value later.

Think about the loved ones we’ve all lost whose voices we’d love to hear. If only through this single method, here’s a way for these children to hear their mothers’ voices forever and ever.


Mother’s Day memos…Saying it forward. Thank you, ladies, for sharing your heart here … for your kids AND for us to hear. You speak and have something worthwhile to say,  and you say it kindly.

If you enjoyed this, subscribe and share with your friends, go to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, search for Collected Clan and subscribe. Ratings and reviews also help with spreading the word about these conversations.

Thank you again for listening.

Now go be you.


For more conversations in this series, follow Collected Clan at these online destinations:


Since this bonus episode contains verbal love notes from mothers to their children, it only apt that we present those mothers with their children. 8)

Daughter and mother

(left) Amanda Eldridge and (right ) Ginger Eldridge from Episode 8. Photo courtesy of Ginger Eldridge.

Elizabeth Foster from Episode 6 with her mini-me Eloise. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Foster.

mother and children

Levi & Lucy with their mother Jenny Baker from Episode 7. Photo courtesy of Jenny Baker.

The Willis gals with Tanya Willis from Episode 5. Photo courtesy of Tanya Willis.


This episode is brought to you by Molliepop Studios, specializing in lifestyle portraiture of children and families. At Molliepop Studios, we capture that special smile, a mischievous smirk, a quick kiss for Daddy, or a special secret or snuggle with Mommy…like the cover image for this episode which was made by Molliepop Studios. And sometimes even the furry, barking kind of child. Please visit Molliepop Studios official website or on Facebook and book your session today to make your own photographic time capsules.