I first learned to weave in the USA while working in Boston, MA as a Geographic Information Systems Analyst (GIS to avoid the mouthful!) My first loom, which I still use, was a Harrisville 50″ wide 8-shaft floor loom. Today it feels like an extension of myself; I love weaving on it. That loom has travelled with me to Europe and now to England where I live and work in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.
Laura’s Loom became ‘official’ in 2002 when I moved to Sedbergh on the edge of Cumbria, where the Lake District meets the Yorkshire Dales and where I opened a studio at Farfield Mill, a former spinning and weaving mill now renovated into a vibrant Arts and Heritage Centre. The fit seemed auspicious. After 10 years of weaving as an occasional hobby fitted in around work and family I had the opportunity to focus on it full time and so I made the most of it, weaving lots of scarves and trying out lots of fibres, designs and colours.
In 2004 I undertook the ‘Bradford Course’, an HNC in Handwoven Design at Bradford College where I was pushed out of my comfort zone but started to truly experiment, trying new ideas and being as weird and wacky as I liked. Out of this course came my stonewall series of scarves and throws, which I’m still working on. A tweak here, a tweak there and the whole thing changes. I find this endlessly fascinating!
About ten years ago I added a new loom to my studio, a 16-shaft LeClerc Weavebird which has opened up a whole new set of pattern possibilities. And in 2021 I became the proud owner of a British-made Rapier Handloom, built by Griffiths Textiles in the Northeast. This magnificent loom is a hand and foot powered version of a rapier powerloom. Carbon neutral, powered by pedalling (just like a bicycle), this loom is the equivalent of a ‘big canvas’ and I’m excited to learn how to use it well. It sits proudly in my new workshop on the Underley Estate just outside Sedbergh, which you can visit with advance notice.
Education and Awards
- 2021 Short listed, Great British Entrepreneur Awards
- 2019 Finalist, Heritage Crafts Association Made In Britain Award
- 2017 Winner, Blue Patch New Heritage Award
- 2012 Finalist (Textiles), Craft & Design Selected
- 2011 Finalist (Textiles), Craft & Design Selected
- 2009 Silver Award (Textiles), Craft & Design Selected
- HNC Handwoven Design, Bradford College 2005 (Distinction)
- Master of Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania, USA 1988
- BSc Hons Human Environmental Studies, Kings College, London 1985
- 2014 ‘Home Ground’, Devon Guild of Craftsmen
- 2013 ‘Collect Cumbria’, Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Windermere, Cumbria
- 2013 ‘Borders’, Arteria Gallery 23, Lancaster
- 2012 ‘Land, Sea & Air’, Forge2 Gallery, Oxfordshire
- 2011 Eden Arts Showcase Exhibition, Penrith
- 2011 Craft & Design Selected Winners Exhibition, Ferrers Gallery, Leicestershire
- 2009 ‘Genesis’, SDC Gallery, London
- 2008 ‘Celebrate’, Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey, Devon
- 2007 Think Pink, Farfield Mill, Sedbergh, Cumbria
- 2006 Marking Time, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, Cumbria
- 2000 Filharmonie, Lausanne, Switzerland