Etsy Photography + Art + Design Rad People

Rad People: Laurel Burch

July 17, 2018
Laurel Burch

I’m not afraid to say that I’m pretty obsessed with these Laurel Burch pieces from the 70’s and 80’s. You possibly remember her for her famous cat paintings, but she also made lots of other things – these jewels included. I am not sure if it’s the colour palette or the stylised animal shapes I love the most. I think it’s probably both and I am stalking pieces on Etsy, in the hopes of snaffling a bargain.

Sadly, Laurel died in 2007 from complications caused by the severe osteoporosis she’d suffered all her life. Obviously she had a gosh darned prolific career, apparently launched to support her children following the end of her first marriage. (She left home at 14 and had a pretty tumultuous early adulthood).

“Laurel Burch, who as a 20-year-old single mother found metal in junkyards to hammer into jewelry to support her two children, and went on to win distinction as a fanciful designer and success as a savvy businesswoman, died on Sept. 13 at her home in Novato, Calif. She was 61,” The NY Times said in her obituary.

“I live within the vivid colors of my imagination … soaring with rainbow feathered birds, racing the desert winds on horseback, wrapped in ancient tribal jewels, dancing with mythical tigers in steamy jungles,” Laurel said.

Click each image below to see it on Etsy.

Laurel BurchLaurel Burch

Laurel Burch

Laurel BurchLaurel BurchLaurel Burch

Laurel BurchLaurel Burch

Laurel Burch


How good, right?

x pip


  • Reply Kate August 22, 2018 at 9:59 PM

    I had forgotten all about Laurel Burch until seeing this post! My mom had a few of pieces of her jewelry—mostly earrings and a few pins, which I always looked for an excuse to wear as a kid in the 90s. What a fun reminder!

  • Reply Billie July 18, 2018 at 6:47 AM

    Back in the late 90s I visited San Francisco and bought a Laurel Burch t-shirt. I wore that gosh-darned thing to death, and when it finally disintegrated I carefully cut out the screenprinted cat design and saved it. I loved her design so much.

    • Reply Pip July 18, 2018 at 6:50 AM

      Oh I LOVE that story, Billie. How brilliant. She’s definitely due a revival/some renewed celebration of her work. x

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