Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
Hi, my name is Laura Mirjami. I create mainly little animal soft sculpture characters (also could be used as paperweights) that live in a magical world called Bilberry Woods.
Apart from creating things what else do you do?
I love watching films, reading, cooking a Sunday roast and taking our Jack Russell for long walks.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I’ve always been making and creating. When I was a child I learned to make toys and to be creative and use my imagination to bring simple objects to life around me. Creating and making became a need and a lifestyle more than a choice.
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline?
It love to tell a story of the animal, give it it's character and see how it comes to life. I know that my job is well done when customers see the animals as little, individual characters that 'speak' to them. But the best part of my work is to see how the characters make people smile and I feel truly privileged to be able to make that little bit of difference in life through my work.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I draw a lot of inspiration from Finland where I grew up as a child. My best care free summer holidays were spent by the lakes of clear water and small coves of sandy beaches. Those lakes were surrounded by dark pine forest with bears, owls, foxes and other magical creatures. Amongst the trees were small wild flower meadows bursting with mushrooms and berries and not too far there is always a river running through. The Winter’s days were full of snow filled streets and the warm glow of lights in the windows. Skiing, ice-skating, building snowmen and ice lanterns were a must and when the sun had set I learned to knit, crochet and sew with a cup of ‘silver tea’ (my Grandma’s speciality of heated milk served from your best china).
Describe your studio or workspace?
I am lucky enough to be one of the resident makers at the New Brewery Arts centre in the heart of Cirencester. And I love my studio! I have a little office section with a light box where I do all the computer work, but mainly write the stories and then I have a large cutting table where all the making happens. I have neat piles of fabrics on the shelves, buttons and ribbons on the jars and then all the tools that I need, scissors, thread, needles etc. are all in tins or pots on the table in front of me ready to be used. It can all get a bit messy, but for me it is an organized chaos!
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman who would it be?
Beatrix Potter for sure!
How would you describe your creative process?
I’m not very good at getting my ideas down before I jump ahead and start making. It’s really not a very clever way of creating, because you end up taking so incredibly long to get anything done! Having said that, I often come up with other ideas, most likely better than the original one, whilst making! I must say I am a bit better now and I love drawing very simple designs on paper before starting.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Crocheted blankets my Mum made or handmade curtains (more like a couple of strips of natural linen) that have beautiful hand embroidered swans that my Great Grandmother did over hundred years ago.
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut?
The best thing for me is to walk away from it all for a bit. Have a day in Bristol and enjoy the buzz of the city or go for a long walk to the hills of Wiltshire.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I’d love to see my characters and stories in a book or two :)
Thank you Laura. So lovely to hear about your childhood in Finland, it sounds magical. You can find Laura's woodland creatures and the odd Polar Bear or two having fun in our Made in Britain shop.
Made in Britain
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Sun: 11am - 5pm