“I grew up in a farm cottage near Earlston, a village in the Scottish Borders. I loved it, and as a child I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. When I went to stay with my Grandma and Grandpa in Edinburgh I found it hard to sleep with the orange glare of the street lights, and my Grandma got me tapes from the library to listen to: Hancock’s Half Hour, Roald Dahl stories. I’m nearly thirty two now and I still listen to stories every night.
I went to Edinburgh College of Art when I was 18, to do a BA (Hons) in Visual Communication. I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator: someone who tells stories and draws pictures, and I loved immersing myself in that environment. When I graduated, however, I realised quickly how ill prepared I was for the ‘real world’: I wasn’t qualified for anything, and competition for freelance work was fierce. I had a list of jobs I would like to do, in order of preference: at the bottom of that list was written ‘anything but retail’. I worked in retail for six years.
I joined DIWC as a receptionist in 2014. I had just completed an MA in Illustration and was looking for a part time job I could do alongside my freelance practice. But the Centre has given me so much more than I could have anticipated. I have met so many wonderful, passionate, funny, intelligent women, and am constantly inspired.
Having worked in places where everything is target-driven and people aren’t valued, it’s fantastic to be part of an organisation that truly values every individual’s skills and personality: it makes me want to do more. In 2016 I submitted a design to the Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, and worked with the Art Class and other learners to decorate the sculpture. Our design raised £8000 for the The Archie Foundation, and is on permanent display in Dundee House.
I hope to continue working at DIWC whilst developing my practice as a freelance illustrator/artist-educator. I have a solo exhibition planned for Summer 2018 at Verdant Works, which will feature illustrations inspired by women I have met at DIWC.”
You can visit DIWC’s Oor Wullie Women of the World, which is on permanent display in Dundee House.
If you would like to see Laura’s illustration work visit: buff.ly/2nmNBdG