Lane Harlan is the beautiful genius behind Baltimore’s W.C. Harlan and Clavel Mezcaleria. Her most recent project is Socle, a shared complex located in Old Goucher that includes Kris Fulton’s Sophomore Coffee, Helena del Pesco’s cafe Larder, an artist residency, and Lane’s own Fadensonnen - a beer garden and natural wine & sake bar.
Shortly after Fadensonnen’s opening in mid-November, Lane gave us a tour of the new spaces wearing some of her favorite owned TOWN pieces.
Do you have any daily rituals?
Lemon water, 2 soft boiled eggs w/ olive oil & Maldon that I eat with my hands, coffee, saying “good morning” to the first people I encounter, working purposefully, then trying to get alone as soon as possible.
Describe the road that led you to the work you do now.
Dropped out of school. Read a lot of poetry and watched a lot of weather through cafe windows in the south of France. I knew that I wanted to create something for other people. Hospitality came naturally to me.
Did you have any mentors or important creative influences?
The poetry of Paul Celan. Local ceramicists Anna K. Crooks and Claire DiSalvo inspire me visually so I work with them as much as possible. The curating powers of Salima & Ro from Desert Vintage. Japan. Denmark. Mexico. Recently I’ve been collaborating with artist/chef Helena del Pesco and her creative prowess in the kitchen has played the role of muse.
Do you feel Baltimore as a city lends itself to your creative endeavors? Would you be doing the same things if you lived in another place?
Baltimore is wild and unregulated in so many ways. I was able to push my ideas through with little compromise. When we found WC Harlan it was a broken building with nearly 100 years of damage and abuse. It was being sold as a house even though the bar inside is art deco and made of mahogany! It’s hard to imagine that it sat without any interest for so long. Yes, without a doubt.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Two answers come to mind: 1) The constant and necessary evolution of every day’s work. 2) When I see the spaces come alive and crawl away from me, when they become ‘other’ and I can enjoy them as a bystander.
What role does personal style play in your daily life, in your professional and creative endeavors?
When you manage a large staff your presence has the power to lift the room or flatten it completely. I do my best to express myself truly through my clothing. What this really means is being unafraid to wear exactly what suits me. When you accept yourself in this way, the best parts of your personality will fly out of you and this is something powerful that can uplift people.
When choosing clothing to wear, what is most important to you?
Room for my body to move, breathe, consume. Natural materials that feel good. Color or more often than not- the lack thereof.
Sustainability and ethical consumption are important guiding principles for us. How do you interpret and/or practice these principles?
I champion Maestras of Mezcal, small natural wine producers, and I always go to local craftspeople for collaborative work before purchasing anything online. Sustainability is not just about physical things- it is about people too.
One of our favorite things about your ethic is the way you go out of the way to harness the passions of those around you and create opportunities to build spaces that are diverse and inclusive. By highlighting and supporting the talents of others, you’ve created a hub for creative people to come together and flourish. Elaborate on this process or the philosophy behind the collaborative nature of your work.
My first thought is always to make something myself. If I don’t have the skill or the time I reach out to one of the many artists in my community to see how that thing can be created. The collaborative process truly allows human ingenuity to flourish. When I am commissioning something for one of my restaurants/bars I give the artists a lot of space to design. The less direction I give, the more I get in return because that artist was allowed to dream alone. A collaboration isn’t an order, it is conversation that, if nurtured, can become a meaningful relationship.
Interview, Words & Photographs by Jane Dylan Cody @jndylncdy
Styled by Lane Harlan & Jane Dylan Cody
Arrangements by Sarah Ruberto @pomona.floral
Shot on location in Baltimore, MD.