Homegirl London pays homage to Laura Olivia. She’s the queen of beautiful nature inspired textiles – fabrics, cushions, art and wonderful wallpaper. Her pieces feature butterflies and flowers which range from the delicate to exotic. Laura studied Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University and it was here that she specialised in printed and embroidered interior textiles. After graduating she learnt her trade by working as an interior decorator which gave her a good knowledge of fabrics and wallpaper. Her big break came when she was freelancing as a textile and surface pattern designer; she took part in a show where she was approached by a well-known UK retailer (Wilkinson) which resulted in designing a number of ranges. I caught up with Laura to ask a few questions …
Q: What’s your fascination with flowers and butterflies?
A: I guess they are just what make me happy! The colour combinations and patterns in nature always seem to work together effortlessly which makes them so easy to translate in to my design work. I’ve always loved butterflies, particularly the more exotic ones; they inspire me.
Q: How would you describe your design style?
A: My style is quite eclectic, obviously very confident with colour and quite feminine at times. I also love to add exotic / tropical elements to my work if possible. I use a whole range of styles such as watercolour, flat colour and linear work. I like to show versatility in my portfolio.
Q: Do you have a garden at home and do you grow flowers?
A: I have a small garden where I have planted some of my favourite flowers such as hydrangea, roses and a variety of fuchsias. I also have orchids in the house to cheer me up on those rainy days!
Q: What’s your favourite flower and why?
A: There are so many it’s hard to choose … I do love the flame lily, which is also known as Gloriosa, it’s very exotic looking and unusual. I also love passion flowers and wisteria.
Q: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
A: The designing is really the most exciting part of my work. When I’ve been inspired to produce something new and take time to experiment it’s really when I’m at my happiest.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to anyone who wanted to make a living from making products?
A: I would say really spend time sourcing reliable suppliers as this is very important. Research your market well and try to stand out from the rest. It is also good to have another string to your bow, for example I spend a lot of time working as a freelance pattern designer for other companies which complements the product side of things very well.
Q: What exciting things are happening for the rest of the year?
A: I have a fashion design project coming up, I will be working on Spring / Summer prints for resort wear. The designer is based in Mauritius so it’s all very exciting … I also have a few licensing opportunities that are being discussed at the moment so that’s a new area that I’m developing at the moment.
See below for a selection of Laura’s pieces. Cushions retail from £67.50-£79, lampshades £95 and wallpaper around £89 per roll. To buy products go to www.lauraolivia.com. Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Laura Oliver, special thanks to Laura Oliver.