Laura Spring: Making An Impact With Ethical Textiles
When it comes to being bold, ethical textile designer Laura Spring has turned it into her personal motif with designs that both catch the eye and bring a smile. She is proving that you can be sustainable and fashionable.
Making A Statement
The great British weather can leave us feeling a bit, well, grey. Laura Spring’s printed designs, from tote bags to rugs are designed to bring vibrant, colourful energy into rooms and outfits alike. ‘I want to make a statement. I’m not afraid to have colour around me,’ she says. From her print studio in Glasgow she produces a new collection every year, as well as one-off commissions. You can see our current top picks of her ethical textiles range, from cushions to purses, to hand-woven rugs here. [embed link to Laura Spring brand page]
Laura was inspired to set up her studio after making costumes for the Scottish Opera. ‘All these designers would come in with lovely drawings and I got a bit envious that I was facilitating someone else’s vision.’
So she decided to realise her own vision and soon found fans of her bold, colourful designs which, while striking, are grounded in the inspiration that they take from the real world. Her current collection includes pieces inspired by the zebra’s natural camouflage and the Finnish skittles game (Milkky) with which Laura wanted to create a rhythm of movement in the flow of the shapes to reflect the movement and energy of the game. Her Convergence collection was inspired by a wind pattern and was a 'happy' accident created whilst on a residency at Cove Park. ‘I was trying to put the opposite, the lines, using cutout stencils but it wasn't working so I focused on the solid blocks instead.’
Ethical Textile Design
When it came to realising her own vision Laura was determined that she would be successful while creating work using ethical methods of production and supporting local manufacturing. All of her supplies, trims and finishes are sourced within the UK, or when from abroad are fair trade. The majority of her collection is made a few miles down the road from her studio by a family-run company with a 35-year heritage in the local manufacturing industry.
Because her products are produced as small batch production and largely hand-crafted, Laura can eliminate waste and ensure the high quality standards needed to be long-lasting.
Searching Out Sustainable Heritage
The story behind Laura Spring’s striking Lehariya range (embed link to rugs) of hand-crafted flat-woven rugs shows how she searches out and converts unusual heritage designs into fresh, exciting pieces that bring vibrancy and a stylish sense of fun to the home.
The pattern was created as a part of the India Street Project, http://indiastreetbazaar.net which aims to consider how ethical and sustainable textile design can operate in the digital age. Laura was one of a group of designers from Scotland and India who explored the Turkey Red archive known as the Bombay Sample Book held at The National Gallery of Scotland.
Laura became entranced by the designs in the book that tried to replicate the pattern created by the traditional tie-dye technique from Jaipur, called Leheriya. This was made by folding and twisting the fabric before dying, producing a distinctive zigzag motif. ‘I combined two elements from Turkey Red, this commonly used zigzag motif and its palette of primary colours to create one of my final designs, which I am delighted to see translated here into a woven rug,’ she says.
The rugs are hand-woven in India by small-scale producers, ensuring that the heritage they represent is used to create economic and ecological sustainability in local communities.
Laura ethics made her a great maker for &Keep who are thrilled to tell her story. Laura says, 'I'm very happy to be stocking &Keep with my products as I love the fact that they are committed to selling products that have been designed with consideration and care. In a world where 'stuff' is being produced constantly, it's refreshing to know that Natasha and her team are dedicated to sourcing products that function well and are beautifully and carefully designed.
A story lies behind each of our products from design, to process, to manufacture and it's great to know that &Keep want to tell this story too so that people can understand why and how we make what we make.'
&Keep are looking forward to the foreverness of a working relationship with Laura Spring, recently voted one of The Guardian’s 2017 Biggest New Design Talents. Congratulations Laura!