Today I'm really pleased to be sharing the work of Laura Slater with you. Laura is based in West Yorkshire where she runs her studio and print workshop, and as soon as I saw her work I knew I needed to find out more...
patternbooth: Tell us about your design journey so far...
laura: I started my design business a few years after I graduated from the RCA. I received a residency opportunity shortly after and this allowed me to develop a new print collection ‘Architextiles’. This led me to think about the application of my designs onto product and how I would present my work in a coherent way. My work has always been about colour and pattern, and taking influences from architectural and natural environments. Shortly after I started exhibiting my work at trade and retail fairs, building up a range of stockists and focusing on creating a new print collection each year.
patternbooth: What artists or creatives do you admire?
laura: I love to research so I am always discovering new artists that inspire me. I am really inspired by Finish and Swedish designers and artists, and I usually find myself influenced by painters and illustrators, Jenni Rope (now of Marimekko fame) is amazing! I am a big fan of Nous Vous design collective, they work in a range of ways through image making, graphic design and illustration. They have a really amazing approach to exploring materials in their outcomes. More traditionally the Bauhaus has always been a massive influence, in colour, shape and materials.
patternbooth: Why pattern?
laura: We engage with the world through pattern. Pattern is present everywhere, in architecture, and nature, it can even be accidental or temporary, it isn’t just fabricated for our clothes or homes. I see it as an integral part of our lives and cultures. We use pattern we find in our environments to inform our living environments and vice versa. Pattern communicates and reflects a lot about who we are as individuals. I love to think I can be part of some one else’s environment through having my pattern their spaces.
patternbooth: Tell us about your studio...
laura: My studio is my creative thinking and making space, it is also very multifunctional. I design, print, make and store my work at my studio. Because my work is screen printed by hand I have a lot of equipment that lives there too. Although my studio is pretty big, I’m starting to think I might need to think about a bigger space in the near future. I am quite interested in the idea that a new space might inspire new work.
patternbooth: Your pattern was appllied to a guitar for a charity fundraiser, a window in Harvey Nics, a rug, 3D installations...How did all that come about?
laura: I get to meet so many other amazingly creative people when out and about exhibiting my work, and relationships and collaboration is an integral part of what I do. Everybody has different skills and strengths and working together can help to develop new areas of my practice. Often I can be approached to collaborate, Harvey Nichols came from one of my stockists, The Hepworth Wakefield who recommended me for the project. My rug collaboration came from me approaching the very talented Area Rugs because I wanted to explore the medium and I needed an expert to work with.
patternbooth: What is your biggest mistake and your best decision in business so far?
laura: Well my best decision so far was to have my own business in the first place. It is amazing to do what you love for your living and I would recommend it to everyone, it is so fulfilling. I think in hindsight I would maybe now have waited a little longer to undertake my MA. I did this straight after my degree, and I do sometimes wonder how my practice would be different if I had waited until I had more professional experience under my belt. I would never call it a mistake and I don’t regret it one bit, because of where I am now but it is an interesting thought.
patternbooth: What are you working on now and next?
laura: I am just in the process of launching my latest print collection ‘Assemble/Configure’, this collection is all based around found pattern and shape from the environments I find myself within. I’ve created a whole range of drawn components that I have composed onto fabric in many different ways. I see composing each print uniquely in this way as though I am creating new environments. This also means that each product will never have exactly the same composition of print, so each product is individual. I suppose this means that I have a unique relationship with each product and so will whoever ends up owning it.
This project has allowed me to develop a range of limited edition of screen prints on paper too, which is something strangely I have not realised until now.
I am going to be exhibiting this collection a lot this year, I am kicking things off by exhibiting at British Craft Trade Fair in April.
patternbooth: Is there an application for your patterns that you'd love to explore?
laura: I am working on a range of ceramics and have a real obsession with working with wood that I am currently exploring. I’m not too sure where this will take me at the moment but I am enjoying playing. I am also working with an upholsterer on this collection.
I am always thinking about how I can develop further and apply my prints. I have been thinking about garments and jewellery too recently but again that’s just a thought at present. There is so much potential.
patternbooth: What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
laura: Really make the most of exploring textiles and materials whilst studying, as it is such a broad subject with so much potential. Make the most of any advice and opportunities you have to develop your professional practice too because it is so important in the ‘real world’.
As clichéd as it sounds, keep going, don’t give up at the first hurdle, keep forward thinking and developing through your experiences. Don’t ever compromise the thing that make your work the most individual, integrity of your ideas is your biggest asset.