Hand-printed fabric designer Laura Slater discusses her craft
PUBLISHED: 11:15 21 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:15 21 February 2014
Art is not just on the walls at The Hepworth Wakefield, it's in the shop too in the intriguing guise of cushions, lampshades and inexplicably moreish tea-towels created by talented textile artist Laura Slater.
The Royal College of Art graduate runs a busy studio and workshop at The Art House in Wakefield, creating screen-printed bespoke fabrics for the contemporary interiors market, using bold swathes of colour and intriguing shapes and textures on a range of products from cushion and lampshades to tea-towels and limited edition prints.
Laura sells her impressive collection of homewares through her own website and a growing number of independent outlets like The Hepworth, Sheffield Museums & Galleries, Made North Design & Craft Gallery and The Print Room in Keighley.
She’s also collaborated on successful projects with Harvey Nichols, London-based Material Lab, pop-up creatives Here You Are Studio, More & Co in Portland, Maine, and the online boutique Nothing But Navy.
‘Textiles have always been a big part of my life, especially when I was growing up at home as both my parents were collectors and I was always surrounded by unique, eclectic objects,’ she said of her passion. ‘I always wanted to do something I loved for a living and – thankfully – that’s exactly what’s happening.’
The design process starts with a succession of relatively simple drawing and mark-making sessions, followed by a series of experimental prints, which Laura produces to develop imagery around her chosen theme or material.
‘I then translate these initial designs into a form suitable to use on silk-screen,’ she explained. ‘In effect, I explore colour and pattern directly on the cloth.’
Inspiration comes primarily from Scandinavian design. Laura cites the bold, vivid designs of Marimekko, the Finnish design studio founded in 1962 which now has a successful flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue; American painter, sculptor and printmaker Ellsworth Kelly’s hard-edged, minimalist pieces; and the simple, strong forms of Brutalist architecture, an uncompromising style typified by the imposing Roger Stevens Building at the University of Leeds.
‘Influences and inspirations for designs can come from anything and everything,’ she said. ‘Found patterns, architecture, environments, landscapes, surfaces, materials, mark-making, printmaking; ideas are everywhere.’
Laura’s latest collection – Assemble/Configure – developed from a range of drawings and printed pattern components assembled on the cloth in different configurations for every product.
‘This means when you buy a product from this particular collection, everyone is guaranteed a one-off design,’ she said.
Next on the design schedule is a new print collection, entitled Collagraph, which refers to a printmaking process in which materials are applied to a rigid surface (usually cardboard or metal).It will include new additions to the product range, including stationary and ceramics. So, watch this art space.
For more information or to shop the latest collection, visit lauraslater.co.uk or pop into The Hepworth Wakefield