Oh hiya! Merry Christmas! Today marks exactly 2 weeks until the big man arrives and I can eat my weight in twiglets!
Thanks to everyone who read and shared the decorations round up last week, it was so fun to put together and I loved the research! This week though, we’re back to my favourite: a creative Q&A with one of those super talented makers!
This time, we had a chat to Laura, of Laura Holden Studio, who creates gorgeous textile creatures in a dreamy muted colour palette. I hope you enjoy!
JANEY: Hello Laura! So please introduce yourself! Have you always been a creative?
LAURA: Yes absolutely! I’m dyslexic and so some academic subjects at school were tricky, but I always felt a great excitement and a sense of calm & power when drawing or making. My mum was always encouraging and put my drawings up around the kitchen proudly! I studied Fine Art at university and my practice centred around drawing and textiles. I carried on making and showing work in galleries after graduation and eventually moved into exhibition design and prop making alongside working in schools as a visiting artist. We moved to Somerset just before my second daughter was born and that’s when I began what has turned into my current practice. I began making colourful hobby horses and cushions in the shape of fruit on my quiet hand cranked sewing machine when the baby was asleep. I had my first stall trading at The Frome Independent (an amazing market that completely takes over Frome the first Sunday of every month), I was so happy that people wanted to buy what I made, it’s four years later now and I’ve developed and added lots of designs, I’m excited to see what will happen next!
J: Sounds terrific!! And of COURSE people wanted to buy your lovely makes!
How would you describe your style?
L: Joyful, nostalgic, a bit wonky.
J: Fab, I feel like that could be written on my gravestone…!
So where do you find your inspiration for those joyful, nostalgic and wonky goodies?
L: I love vintage illustration & the colours of the sixties and seventies. I draw a lot of inspiration from my early childhood and the clothes and toys my grandmothers would sew for my brother and I, I think handmade textiles can carry a lot of love & I try to put a bit of that into my work.
J: Definitely, textiles have the potential to hold such sentiment and nostalgia!
What tends to be your usual design and making process?
L: Usually something will pop into my head and I’ll carry it around and mull over the idea and how it might work. If it sticks I’ll do a bit of research and make some drawings, then I’ll sketch out a sewing pattern & make a prototype, then make a few tweaks where needed until it feels right. My making process is initially putting the body of an object together on the sewing machine, then I stuff it and cut and hand stitch the details. I listen to a lot of audiobooks!
J: I bet! What a good way to get yourself into the zone though! And I believe that the best end products are the ones that have gone through that huge journey behind the scenes – lots of tweaking and design development!
What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?
L: Probably making a 15 foot orange felt octopus with hundreds of suckers for a children’s exhibition at Discover Story Centre in East London, it took weeks & was such a huge beast!
J: Um WHAT?! That sounds incredible!
So apart from gigantic octopuses…octopi… octopods…? what do you reckon is your favourite thing to stitch?
L: My swan cushions, I like sewing the swoops and curves!
J: And how about a colour palette? I can see there is defnitely a theme through your work!
L: I love pink, green, red & gold-y yellow.
J: I can definitely sense that 1970’s reference there – and then your preferred combination of fabrics?
L: Definitely soft, comforting fabrics like cotton velvet, corduroy & wool felt.
J: I love that you describe them as comforting, that is so true.
So we’ve all needed a bit of comfort his year haven’t we, how have you found 2020 as a creative business owner?
L: Nerve wracking! I was very worried that things would grind to halt without shops and markets, but I feel so grateful for the online community of makers and artists and everyone who has supported small businesses this year. It has given me a chance to rethink and grow my business which has been the silver lining of a discombobulating & at times, a sad year.
J: That is so super lovely to hear. We’ve watched the online market soar, and I agree that people have been so good at supporting small, especially this festive period. So once Christmas is over (makes me sad just to say it…), what do you hope to be on the cards for the future of your business?
L: I’d like to get back into drawing and maybe make a series of prints to compliment the textiles work. I really hope to continue growing and carry on getting to know more people in the community, there are so many lovely and talented people out there working on exciting projects, it feels hopeful even at this difficult time!
J: Absolutely! There are so many fab creatives out there and I absolutely adore getting to know you lot! The creative community has so much fantastic knowledge to share, and they’re bloody lovely too!
So lovely Laura’s Etsy shop is now closed for Christmas, so she can get making all of those beautiful orders in time for the big day, but do check it out in the new year, and for now, give her a follow on Instagram to keep up to date! (@lauraholdenstudio)
I’m so grateful to Laura, and to all of the other fabulous makers who have featured this year – please do have a scroll on the blog to see the previous chats we’ve had with them. It takes a lot of time to answer my pokey questions in between running a small business, and alongside navigating life in a global pandemic, so I will forever be mega grateful for them giving me their time!
And thank you to you lot – everyone taking time out of their day to read what we have to say, whether it is on the sofa with your coffee on a Saturday morning, or on the commute, thank you thank you thankyou!
So Merry Christmas, and I’ll see you next time!