Meet Lauren Brown. She’s a horticulturist and designer from the Victorian High Country who infuses inspiration from the natural world into her work. With the help of Columbia, we caught up with her to find out about her creative process and to learn about how these two worlds collide.

Why The Outdoors is the Cornerstone of This Designer’s Creativity - art, design, outdoors, Bag, pot

WAE: So Lauren, you’re a horticulturist and designer, that’s a cool combo! How do those two passions work together?

LB: Juggling multiple passions can definitely be tricky at times. My work in the horticulture industry is often a refreshing break from the fast-paced design world, but to say the two passions are entirely separate wouldn’t be accurate. 



My garden, local area, and the beautiful Victorian High Country inform my creative practice through colours, textures, shapes, and themes. I find that time spent outdoors is the perfect partner to my busy indoor studio practice. 

The longer I spend living and working in this part of Australia, the more I notice the two professions merging and I really enjoy the interplay between the two, seemingly opposite, worlds.

You live in the Victorian High Country, how does your home inspire you?

I live on a 1,000 acre dairy farm so I have a huge area to explore. Whether it’s climbing up the big hill for a sunset beer or walking my dogs down to the river, you’ll find me plodding along through the cow paddocks in my Columbia Newton Ridge Hiking Boots, as happy as can be (and with dry feet all the way!). 

Living rurally also means a lot of daily commuting. Between heading to work, my studio, and getting out on adventures, I cover a pretty big radius each week and find inspiration in the various landscapes and scenes I encounter day-to-day.


What are your favourite adventures in the Victorian High Country?

One of my all-time favourite spots is Mount Buffalo (Taungurung Country). It’s an incredibly accessible mountain, all year round, and each time my partner Kale and I visit we’re blown away by how many cool trails we find. From alpine plateaus to granite tors and everything in-between, it’s my kind of paradise.



When I’m feeling particularly adventurous I love to head up Warkwoolower / Mount Bogong (Jaitmatang Country). The ascent is a bit of a mission, but the views and sense of remoteness are spectacular and easier to reach in a sturdy pair of hiking shoes, like Columbia’s Newton Ridge Boots. My favourite time to visit is in January when the slopes are blanketed in thousands of native wildflowers.

Tell us about your creative process? How much does nature and the outdoors influence it?

I love to explore the countless mountains and valleys of the High Country for creative inspiration. I have my trusty Fuji camera on me at all times, to take photos of details that I later use to inform my studio work. 

When I’m not out adventuring in my local mountains with my trusty Columbia Newton Ridge Hiking Boots, my daily inspiration comes from my garden. My garden is the place I feel most comfortable to experiment and play with different combinations of colours, textures, and shapes. It’s a safe place for me to practice, fail, and learn.

I’m in constant awe of my garden as it ebbs and flows throughout the seasons and it’s truly at the forefront of some of my best ideas in the studio.

How does being a horticulturist influence your experience in the outdoors?

My horticulturist background has helped me develop a strong connection with my local region. Being able to put theoretical knowledge into practice on a daily basis strengthens this bond and ignites my curiosity. 

I love smelling mint while out in the forest and looking for the nearby Peppermint Gum or knowing to look for tiny native orchids when I come across a patch of bush that’s been recently burnt. I find myself drawing on this knowledge frequently, and the longer I spend out here the more I want to learn.

Do you have any creative ideas brewing that you can share?

I sure do! The past two years have seen me dedicate a lot of time to making my hand-painted planter bags so I haven’t had as much time to experiment and play as I’d like but in the coming year I have a lot planned. 

I’ve recently set up a ceramic studio with a kiln, inherited from my grandmother, and am looking forward to turning my years of sketches into real ceramic vases and pots.

I’ve also been quietly teaching myself how to create large-scale rugs. My design practice involves a lot of repetition, reproducing the same products many times over so the idea of creating one-off rugs, inspired by my local landscape, really appeals to me. Watch this space!

Check out Lauren’s creations at her Instagram account @lau.bro and find her stylish and sturdy waterproof boots at Columbia


Photos thanks to @lau.bro and @kaleonthetrails