Meet the Maker - Laura Thompson

Friday, May 09, 2014
Hi there!  Today we meet textile designer Laura Thompson.  We first discovered her work through facebook, and fell in love with her designs.  We are delighted to have some of her work for sale in our Made in Britain shop, and are sure you will love them too.  We caught up with her to find out more about her life and inspiration behind her designs...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
My name is Laura Thompson and I’m a textile designer and maker from Staffordshire. I run a small business called Linen & Lisle, where I make hand silkscreen printed linen cushions, sewing notions and other textiles for the home. I always favour simplicity, functionality, and natural fabrics when it comes to homeware, which I think is reflected in the collection I am continuing to develop.
Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
Most of what I do involves creating things one way or another, one of my more recent projects was to re-upholster some mid-century dining room chairs, so I’m quite partial to a bit of DIY. I also like to cook and have a rummage in antiques shops for the vintage finds that I then tend to use as props in product photographs.
When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
It’s really hard to pinpoint a moment when I knew I was a maker, especially when I’ve never really seen myself doing anything other than something in a creative field. For me, it was probably when I first started selling the things I had made; realising that other people appreciated them enough to have them in their own homes.
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
I like the flexibility of working with textiles; it means I can choose what I feel like doing, from knitting to printing to embroidering. One day I can have my hands covered in ink and then the next I can be sitting at my sewing machine sewing buttonholes. I love being able to work with tactile materials to make a finished product, I don’t think personally I’d get the same satisfaction out of just drawing or designing, it’s the process of making that appeals to me. 
Where does your inspiration come from? 
My inspiration generally comes from mid century and Scandinavian textiles but mainly I just try to create things that I would want in my own home. My new collection simply came about because I wanted a small pouch to store my various bits and pieces of sewing paraphernalia; if it’s handy for me, hopefully it will be useful for others too. 
Describe your studio or workspace? 
I work from home in a spare bedroom that can only be described as straight out of the pages of the ikea catalogue. It’s very white, bright and functional, with a place for everything when I need to tidy up. I also now have the luxury of two desks, one for printing and one to house my sewing machine and overlocker, so it’s ideal for my one-woman operation. 
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be? 
There are so many designers I admire for their simple, clean aesthetic but Lotta Jansdotter initially springs to mind.
How would you describe your creative process? 
My creative process has developed as I continue to experiment with new processes and products. Initially, I begin by doodling, cutting out and making paper stencils to try out repeat patterns and just see what happens. For my screen-printed products I then make an acetate stencil from an original drawing so I can then reproduce the image over and over again, it’s all very low tech but it seems to work pretty well. 
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A dolls dress hand-knitted for me by my Nan when I was a child.
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
Browsing my own pinboards on pinterest always helps me re-focus on the kind of designs and items I am aiming for in the future. In the mean time I usually have a pile of previous projects to sew together while I think of what I want to do next. 

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
I’d like to be making and creating on a larger scale. I’d also love to have my own shop and maybe a canal boat.

Thank you Laura. We are huge fans of Lotta Jansdotter too, loving that Scandi vibe.  You can find Laura's pouches and cushions in our gorgeous (even if we do say so ourselves) Made in Britain shop.  

Made in Britain 
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