Ahead of Scotland Re:Designed’s return next month, we caught up with the lovely Laura Spring who gives us an insight into her year so far. In 2015, Laura won the ‘Best Emerging Designer’ award at our debut Interior Design Showcase in Dundee receiving an award towards the cost of her participation and last year, won the ‘SR:D Interiors Award’, Funded by Creative Scotland, receiving a £1000 grant towards her business. These awards are an intrinsic part of SR:D’s events programme that has seen Scottish design taken to New York, Chicago and Hong Kong.
Helsinki is clearly becoming a favourite of yours, for inspiration and research. Tell us a bit more about how that came about and what’s involved?
I’ve actually been to Finland five times now! I clearly have a huge amount of love for the place, but i think the residency I did there two summers ago was a pretty transformative experience. It’s taken the two years (and three more trips!) since that residency to make this project a success, but I think that’s one of the important things I learnt from my time there. It’s important to take your time sometimes, alot can be learnt from letting ideas develop more slowly and by researching things more thoroughly, connecting with people, holding conversations, sharing thoughts etc. We live in a very immediate, fast-paced world right now, we soak up news, images, ideas so quickly and it can be overwhelming, consuming all this ‘stuff’ all the time, so I really enjoyed letting this project have some breathing space and allowing it to take the time it did. Applying for funding from Creative Scotland meant I had to take time and think about things very thoroughly and that’s one of the benefits of applying for funding, I think it really forces you to think about your ideas and how you want to develop. Receiving funding was an essential in being able to carry out this research and achieve the outcomes that I did (like being able to pay a weaver in Finland to work with me collaboratively on realising my weaving ideas!), but also as with any period of intense research I think, it feels like this is just the start of a bigger conversation with people and my work, so although there is an ‘official’ collection that I have just launched inspired by this project, I feel it is just the start of much more.
There is quite clear Scandinavian influence in your work, right through from the clean cut designs, to the way you style them for photos. Has this been a life long source of inspiration to you, or has it blossomed from your visits?
I think I’ve always had a huge love of Scandinavian design, but what I’ve learnt most from my visits is that I also love their approach to life, their relationship with nature, their ability to switch off and appreciate time away from work/studios etc. One of my designs is called ‘Solstice’ and was born out of acknowledging the awareness of the amount of light reducing and increasing throughout the year. It really affects how people behave and I think there’s something pretty magical about responding and listening to nature.
You have also been down to London recently to exhibit at Clerkenwell design week as part of your CS grant from Scotland Re:Designed, how did this funding benefit you?
The funding obviously helped greatly towards the financial costs of exhibiting at Clerkenwell. As with all shows in London (and abroad) they are a big drain on finances and time commitments, so to have some financial assistance was really great. I wouldn’t usually do a show at that time of year as I am a small business so have to watch my overheads, but it was exciting to have the opportunity to take part in this event and it was great to tap into a slightly different audience than I usually see in London.
Do you feel exhibiting in London is an essential for getting your name out there?
Yes of course. London is a major hub for design, fashion, art etc so I feel it’s important to make sure I connect with audiences down there as much as I do up here. There’s lots of exciting things happening in Scotland, but I think it’s vital to try and share some of that out with Scotland, so trips to London, Paris, wherever are important for not only sharing your own work but learning and absorbing information about other work, designers, thinkers and what is happening in the world.
What made you decide to stay in Scotland after your studies, when so many head to the capital?
I think it just felt like a natural decision for me, three years at art school didn’t feel like enough to explore the city and I didn’t want to rush off and leave after graduating. I wanted to get to know Glasgow and Scotland out with the art school bubble and it seemed so much easier to have a studio and a better work/life balance than friends who had gone to London. I love London, but for visits. I love that here in Glasgow I can work in the city and benefit from all that brings to my practice, but then be out in the woods very quickly if I need to! It’s so easy to get real peace and quiet in incredible landscapes here, we’re very lucky…except with the number of days of rain maybe?
#SRDGLA17 applications are now open, to be in with the chance of winning one of four Creative Scotland Funded Awards and one of twelve funded stands please express interest under the Creative Scotland Funding section within your application form.