Five minutes with designer/maker, Laura Howard from Bugs and Fishes

 laurahoward

Today we’re finding out about the creative world of designer/maker, Laura who writes gorgeous craft books as well as designing and selling all sorts of handmade goodies too.

Hi there, Laura! Can you tell us all a little bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m Laura, also known as “Lupin”. I’m a craft writer/designer/maker/blogger living near London. I love all kinds of crafts but my favourite material to work with is felt. I’ve written two books filled with felt projects (Super-Cute Felt and Super-Cute Felt Animals) and I always have something felt-y in progress in my studio.

When did you start designing/making?

About ten years ago I was unemployed for a while and I turned to my childhood hobby of sewing to keep myself entertained. While I was looking online for ideas for things to make I stumbled onto Etsy and made it my new year’s resolution to open a shop of my own (https://www.etsy.com/shop/lupin) and see how it went. My business has slowly grown from there!

I started out selling my own hand-sewn felt crafts, and then I added felt squares and other colourful craft supplies to my shop and began designing tutorials for craft books and magazines. I realised I loved the process of designing new things so much that I’m now focusing entirely on that side of things.

What do you love about designing/making?

Every week of my job is different, which is great. I love the challenge of turning a vague idea – a brief from an editor or an idea that pops into my head – into a real, physical object. Sometimes it’s a difficult process (especially when a tight deadline is involved) but it’s always hugely satisfying when you finish the final piece and think, “I made that!”

My favourite thing though has to be seeing other people enjoying something you’ve worked on. I used to love seeing photos from customers of them wearing my brooches, and nowadays I’m thrilled when people share photos of things they’ve made from my patterns.

Can you share any top designing/making tips?

My top tip for felt crafting is to invest in a good quality pair of embroidery scissors with nice comfy handles. The small, sharp blades make cutting out small and intricate felt shapes so much easier.

As for designing, my main tip is just to make a note of every single idea you have (be they small, silly, or just totally irrelevant to your current project). I have a notebook and a box of index cards full of little sketches and scribbled notes which may never become anything but which are an invaluable resource when it comes to brainstorming on a deadline, or when I’m feeling under-inspired.

When you’re not designing/making, what do you like to do?

I spend my days off exploring! I love visiting museums and art exhibitions and historic houses and castles and gardens… and generally soaking up the delights of new-to-me places. I always have a long list of places I’d like to visit next and I share lots of photos from my travels on my blog.

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