I believe all little kids are artists… I just never grew out of it!”, quips Laura.
Laura Leiden was born and raised in Chatham, NJ., twenty-five miles from NYC. Most summers her family vacationed at Silver Bay, a YMCA Family Conference Center, on Lake George in NY. There she had the unique opportunity to be taught and encouraged by watercolorist Adele Hepburn, AWS. Much of her annual vacation was spent in the Craft Shop where she learned silversmithing, copper enameling, lapidary, and batik in an adult environment. “This was a great opportunity for me to try all sorts of art media and techniques,” Laura comments.
Laura moved to Boston where she attended Massachusetts College of Art. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Laura accepted a position as an art teacher at Greer High School in SC. She taught there for six years and was elected Teacher of the Year by her colleagues. While teaching, Laura was active in the Greenville artist community and was selected for the Curator’s Choice Award to be part of a 3-person show at the Greenville Museum of Art. For three summers, she attended Rhode Island School of Design earning a Master of Arts Education. Laura’s love for art and interest in other cultures led to her selection as a Fulbright Art Scholar in Belgium and the Netherlands.

While teaching, Laura accepted custom calligraphy commissions. She participated in craft shows selling prints of her work. “I have always thought of my art as my profession, so to make money with it became my goal,” Laura explained. The calligraphy business blossomed, and she left teaching and became a full-time calligrapher.

Laura married and moved to Watkinsville, GA. where she and her husband were blessed with a boy and a girl. She continued to grow her business selling calligraphy prints to thousands of shops, providing employment for sixteen local residents, whose commitment helped her to fill the demand for her burgeoning business.
After about twenty years of running the business, Laura felt the need to paint again. Her general manager oversaw daily business operations while Laura went to her studio and painted “Windows of the Soul”, a series of acrylic-mixed media abstracts using color in a transparent manner that gave a stained glass feel to the paintings. She often used fabric to create a layered look. Her works can be found in collections throughout the Southeast, including the University of Georgia. She exhibited internationally in Italy, Romania, Turkey, and Canada.
March of 2007, Laura woke up with a clear message that a year from then, she would be a REALTOR. She took the classes and passed the exam and in January 2008 she became a REALTOR… “I started real estate just in time for the ‘Mortgage Meltdown’. It was very hard work, but I didn’t mind because my purpose was to help people, especially Seniors.” Laura explains. She continued as a REALTOR for fifteen years, starting her own Brokerage, and assisted many people in buying and selling their homes. She gave back to her industry by serving as State President of the Women’s Council of REALTORS.
In 2021, Laura’s daughter became pregnant, and “Uncle-brother” wanted to give her baby a quilt. Having never made a quilt before, Laura said, “Sure, I’ll make it’!” With this new adventure, Laura fell in love with using fabric to make art. She made some traditional quilts and quickly gravitated to making art quilts, using her signature love of color.
Laura became very involved in various Guilds, being President of the Big Springs Quilt Guild, exhibiting member of Cotton Patch Quilters, and Mt. Laurel Artful Bee Quilters. She is currently serving as Co-Rep for the GA/SC region of SAQA (Studio Artist Quilt Associates), a global organization that promotes the art quilt as a fine art medium. Laura’s work can be seen at the Sautee Nacoochee Center Gallery in the Georgia mountains.
Laura has a unique approach to her art quilts, combining alcohol ink painting and quilting. “I found alcohol inks…. or they found me! It was love at first sight!” she exclaims, “The intense colors, the blooming edges, it took my breath away”. Laura combines her painting with fiber by custom printing her original paintings onto fabric and then free motion quilting them, often including faces. “I love when someone is looking at one of my art quilts and then squeals with delight ‘There is a face!’ … and another, and another. Kind of like ‘Find Waldo’,” laughs Laura.
Laura’s full time focus now is making art quilts and entering national juried exhibitions. She is also preparing for upcoming solo shows. “I love painting and working with fabric- how lucky can an artist be? Doing both loves together!”, Laura exclaims.