Meet the Maker: Laura Jayne Halton
Laura-Jayne Halton is a Fashion Designer & Visual Artist based in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. With an esteemed and award-winning design portfolio, Laura Jayne has created an aesthetic fusion that inspires instant recognition. Her designs have been showcased at a host of prestigious red-carpet events. She has a passion for great design, spanning years in various disciplines and mediums, and specialises in beautiful bespoke outfits that transcend trends and seasons to provide timeless elegance. Laura Jayne is consistently inspired by nature, it's colours and textures that change with the seasons, organic shapes, classical architecture and mid-century design. Visit www.laurajaynehalton.com to view her work and purchase online.
What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
There isn't really any typical day in the studio as each one varies so much from day to day and week to week. In general, it’s a mix of assessing fabric samples, sketching and creating design boards for clients, testing the drape of fabrics on a mannequin and pattern drafting - which is the most technical side of my work. I usually dedicate certain days to the visual art side of my business, or when inspiration comes, so I can stay in the zone and create my best work. This usually takes me late into the evening and the small hours of the morning. I create mood boards filled with photos that I have taken and textures and colours that have caught my eye. I refine ideas, concepts and sketches before I start into working on an original piece, and develop how it will translate into an interior product or a collection of limited-edition prints. My artwork inspires my fashion and vice versa, compiling a colour palette, combining textures and finishes, applying what I am passionate about to different media and materials. It keeps work exciting for me, and I hope that translates into my body of work.
What do you like most about your work?
Empowering women through style and lifting mood through colour. The best feeling in the world is seeing the delight on a client’s face when I am presenting a finished piece of work to them. My goal has always been to create, to enjoy creating and to bring that enjoyment to others through my work. It is what makes it worthwhile, seeing that appreciation in others for something I have dreamed up and worked hard on to create. When new inspiration comes and a whole new process begins, the possibilities are so exciting. It constantly pushes me to continue to learn, push myself further but ultimately, the end goal is to really bring an element of joy to the person who is investing in my work. Getting to design for International events like the Academy Awards working with inspirational women from the film industry, to collaborations with international brands have been some of the highlights of my career so far and something that make me stop and take stock of on the tougher days of business!
What do you like least about your work?
There's always a fear of creative block, an uncertainty about being in the creative world during an uncertain time but if the last 18 months have taught me anything, it is that there are no certainties in any area of life and work! In Ireland, the lack of long-term access to creative spaces or studio leases is proving a massive challenge for a lot of designers and makers, myself included. When you run your own business, you have to wear many hats but that is probably my least favourite thing about my work in the sense that you need your focus to be on creating, working, sustaining your business. That is extremely difficult when there is no secure tenure for a suitable space to work in.
What's your favourite craft item in your home?
A bespoke cabinet on long suspended legs with detailed marquetry on the doors that I created when I studied Furniture Design at GMIT Letterfrack, It was the first project where I was given free rein on the design and was inspired by the theme of time. It’s a really special piece personally! I have some beautiful pieces from my wonderfully talented friend Emily Dillon Ceramics, and every time I stop for a tea break it makes it all that more special to enjoy it from a hand-crafted ceramic cup!
What other maker in your discipline do you most look up to?
Sybil Connolly and her legacy in Irish craft and design is someone I have long admired. Not just her classical elegance in fashion design but how she applied her design skills to a host of different disciplines, from interiors to homewares and collaborations with International brands.
What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?
To shadow someone and get as much work experience as possible to see every aspect of the business. You need to see the bad with the good, the challenges that craft businesses can face, not just the finished work on exhibit but the bulk of work from first concept sketch. I would also advise to do a financial course, a start your own business course too. But really you cannot beat experience first before taking the plunge!
What's your favourite time of the day?
Late in the evening when emails are done, the day is quieter and I can slow everything down to focus on sketching and bringing concepts to life. When I transform a flat piece of fabric into a three-dimensional wearable item that is always my favourite time of the day - it could be 2pm or 2am!
How do you switch off?
With great difficulty. Even a break away is always a source for new inspiration. I think that is just how us creatives are wired. At times I would like to completely switch off from it, but I have yet to learn how!
How do you start your day?
Tea! I usually try to get a lot of the admin and emails done early in the day so it’s not hanging over me when I need to focus in the studio. I spend some time giving the animals their breakfast (2 dogs, 2 cats, chickens, a pony and a donkey!) - they keep life interesting and maybe I do switch off when I spend time with them all. I would be absolutely lost without them.
What's the first thing you do when you leave the studio?
My brain usually figures something out the minute I walk out of the studio so I am straight back in to either write it down or start working on it again.
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly for fiction. 100 Years of Fashion Illustration for a visual feast of my favourite things - fashion and art!
Best concert you have ever been to?
Bob Dylan (all 10 times but the first time in Nowlan Park was a magical experience)
Sweet Chili Chicken from Red Torch Ginger
Music when you're working?
What do you listen to?
A mix of Dylan, Tom Petty, The National or a random playlist from 80's mixes to classical piano depending on the mood!