Spring has arrived! It’s a beautiful day inside Lauries Dalston based London studio. You may have already come across Laurie on Instagram, her fluid abstract shapes and unique colour palets compliment some of the most desirable homes and boutiques worldwide. We catch up with Laurie to find out more about her craft and what it takes to make it in this competitive industry.
Hello! My name is Laurie and I’m a textile designer/artist currently living and working in London. I grew up in Glasgow, studied in Manchester then moved to London 5 years ago to work for an embroidery company as an in-house hand embroiderer. After a year of feeling creatively restricted I set up my own label making hand embroidered cushions and bags. I'd always painted asa hobby and as a means to collect colour ways and shapes for my textiles, but then people started responding to my paintings, buying them and eventually I found myself dividing my time equally between textiles and art.
Each day varies massively and is completely dependent on my work load. Currently my days are spent painting as commissioned works are in high demand, but next week I'll be working my way through a wholesale order of cushions so embroidery will take over.
When you work for yourself and the day to day is so varied it’s important to add structure so I typically work 9-6 Monday to Friday. I also teach Workshop from my studio in Dalston one Saturday a month.
I was 19 and 2 years out of school and really struggling to find where I wanted to be. I knew I was into fashion but started to notice I was particularly drawn to texture and detailing so I applied to study Textile Design at college.
Our first project was in collaboration with Harris Tweed where we had to hand embroider this pretty garish looking scarf. I hadn’t really done any embroidery before but threw myself into it and the praise I received for my final piece was so overwhelming I think it just stuck with me.
I quickly realised how much respect I had for traditional craftsmanship so decided to put all my focus into hand embroidery.
I gained a BA in Textile Design before moving to London and somehow just fell into the world of interiors.
My go-to embroidery technique is called Couching which is created when piece of yarn or other materials are laid across the surface of the ground fabric and fastened in place with small stitches of a different, usually finer yarn. I love the simplicity of this technique and how it can be used to form shapes, lines or block designs without looking too busy.
I also work with appliqué and patchwork.
I used to be terrified of putting my artwork out there. Textiles has always been my safety net as I knew that that was my strength, plus there’s so much snobbery attached to painting, I didn’t think my work would be accepted. Around 3 years ago I posted something I was working on which was essentially a colour test for a new wall hanging - someone DM'd me asking to buy the piece and it all kind of started from there.
There's So many to mention but my go-to’s would be Betty Woodman, Milton Avery and Harriet Powers.
Forming my online identity came naturally to me, I always want my work to do the talking so keeping the aesthetic of my website and instagram feed minimal and not overly styled is key.
I've had no official busess training so it really has been 4 years of trial and error. The best advice I can give is work hard, put yourself out there and try not to get swept away with the current market - essentially you want to create something new and exciting that stands out from the crowd.
I don’t have a uniform as such but I tend to use my clothes as a means to portray what I’m feeling that day. I love fashion and the temporary identity you can form by throwing on a particular piece. Mostly I enjoy an exaggerated silhouette, be it a puffed sleeve, nipped in waist or flared trouser. I think it’s important to have fun with the way you dress and not be too consumed by trends.
There’s so much I want to learn and make but I think next year I’m going to experiment with making a small collection of women’s clothing.
I’ve had to learn to be kind to myself over the years. I never used to take time off which was counterproductive because time away/off for a creative is essential for recharging and gaining inspiration.
Renli Su Girl Laurie Maun
Photographer: Benjamin Werner
Producer: Nina Scott-Smith
Translation and Graphic design: Wanni Chung