I was once a lucky student and assistant, now lucky collaborator and friend of Laurel’s.

Laurel has a natural gift for guiding others. I have had the privilege of working with her as both a student and an assistant, and can therefore attest to her capacity for leading people in a variety of contexts. Whether it is in a one-on-one setting, or within a group of vast skillsets, Laurel knows how to offer support while simultaneously allowing each member of her team to speculate, iterate, and interpret the work on their own terms. Her sensitivity and observant nature allow her to recognize when it is beneficial to pause, or to accelerate the conversation. I see her as naturally adept at activating the latent ideas resting in both the projects and people around her. Through Laurel, I have witnessed the value in playfulness as a legitimate component of the creative process. Walks in the park, conversations on the phone, and returns to personal archives are equally fruitful methods of ideation. She is skilled at documentation, organization, synthesis, and most critically, eliciting the unexpected. Underlying these skills is a depth in thinking. There is a high degree of poeticism in her work, as she often makes reference to themes of wind and weather, yet she also possesses a complementary pragmatism. She knows when and how to abbreviate for the sake of legibility to a wider audience without sacrificing complexity. Every project, whether in the form of a class, a video tutorial, or a website, allows for viewers to enter and exit as as they wish. Each work becomes a learning experience with multiple points of entry embedded throughout. More time spent with the work leads to greater depth. Laurel’s approach is impressive for its holistic quality, as she steadily applies the intention of encouraging mindful interaction between people and systems. Her practice is committed and generous, for it is simultaneously an exploration for herself, as well as for those who have the pleasure of working alongside her.
_

Megan Pai
artist, designer

enter and exit as they wish

Laurel is a collaborator and mentor, as well as a friend. A couple years ago, we met because I interviewed her about websites as buildings, and building websites. Below is the introduction to that piece, which you can enjoy.

Today’s web has a crisis of character. Perhaps it is due to an unconscious identification with what is familiar and visible; there is a sameness when flying from link to link, index to index. Laurel Schwulst is an artist and designer whose websites feel like a clearing in a dense of trees. It would be wrong to say her work is nostalgic for an earlier age—rather it adapts the processes of the early internet to a new time. There is great excitement to be found in her work’s creative reuse of web elements, recurrent signifiers, and unconventional approaches to websites-as-metaphors.

*

Benjamin Good
young architect and artist

a clearing in a dense of trees