Text by Katie Ellis
It’s safe to say that Laura Park has a natural affinity for design. From creating collages and quilts out of scraps of fabric on her grandmother’s sewing room floor as a child to decorating her classroom during her early professional life as an elementary school teacher, Laura has always had a flair for the creative and visually interesting. However, it wasn’t until nearly 10 years ago, when her father died suddenly, that she began painting. “I always wanted to give it a try, and that seemed to be the right time to spend quiet time alone and explore something new,” Laura says. “I am basically self-taught, and I began to experiment on canvas with a variety of paints and hues in my favorite shades and created my own unique abstract, impressionistic style.”
Laura’s husband, Trip, who is a talented cartoon artist, helped her to broaden her range in terms of brushstrokes, space, and color. “Eventually, I was lucky to get picked up by some wonderful art galleries here in the South that show my work,” she says.
Laura describes her work as playful, dynamic, vibrant, and happy, and anyone who sees her pieces is sure to agree. “I paint with acrylic paints—which I seem to get on everything—and I like my paintings to achieve a layered effect with movement and energy,” she says. “I’ve always been drawn to the soft, soothing hues of the great Impressionist painters.”
After a few years of painting, Laura began photographing her artwork with the idea of turning her art into textiles. “From there, I started to experiment with digitizing the images into distinct patterns, which led me to explore digitally printing the patterns onto fabric for making pillows,” she says. “It all just kind of took off. I took my sample pillows to a trade show in New York City and was thrilled to come home with orders for more pillows!” Soon thereafter, she worked up the nerve to launch her own textile design company, Laura Park Designs. “I never really planned to become a painter or start a textile business,” she says. “It all evolved over time.”
Laura’s flagship store in Charlotte, North Carolina, showcases her pillows, bedding, home goods, and tabletop products, and her full line of textiles and wall coverings are now distributed in 25 representative showrooms throughout the US. “I feel so blessed to be truly passionate about what I do,” she says. “I am obsessed with painting and then creating new textile designs from my artwork. I love the process of creating—art, designs, products. My work is never a chore to me; it’s fun and relaxing and exciting at the same time.”
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