This month The Trove is featuring contemporary textile artist Laura Cook aka Art Slave – read our Q&A with Laura below to discover more about the inspiration and process behind her work, her experience working for a high end art-to-wear company in the US, the influence of Traditional Japanese Shibori patterns and brutalistic architecture within her designs, and her plans for teaching a 4-week Batik course in the near future.


Art Slave Designs

(Image by Vanessa Rudolf | Model: Julia Gingerich)

Tell me a little about you and how you became a contemporary textile artist.

Creating is compulsory hence Art Slave. I love natural materials and styles to live in. I am understated and enjoy bold colour. My fabric design is abstract and intended to communicate individually with the wearer of the garment – a dash of blue in the collar that only you know about. My grandmother travelled to India when I was a girl, and brought back the most beautiful cotton batiks. Textiles embody the endless possibility of colour and pattern. My family encouraged me to peruse my bachelor’s degree in Clothing Textiles and Design. I then began working for Lori Bacigalupi, my mentor friend. Her visionary genius created Kiss of the Wolf, an industry leading high end art-to-wear company. Working with Lori for 9 years as the Head Painter and Textile Designer was a constant inspiration. All the while my husband has emboldened and supported my work. Since moving to the UK from the US over a year ago, I have continued to establish my own art business.

Describe your style in 5 words.

Organic. Comfort. Japanese. Rockstar. Ballet.

Art Slave Designs

(Image by Vanessa Rudolf | Model: Julia Gingerich)

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I can’t help but stare at a brick wall and be inspired. A crack in the pavement, a tree, a shadow – everything. I appreciate the combination of the old and the new. Traditional Japanese Shibori patterns juxtaposed with brutalist architecture abstracted into a repeated textile design. I see the world in a full repeat. Inspiration also occurs as part of the process of creating my fabrics. Whether painting a batik or a deconstructed silkscreen, the quality of the line will be a result of my hand, but also nature of the medium used. I design by nature with intention.

Could you tell me a little more about one of your pieces?

The unique aspect of my work is that each piece begins a white material. I develop each colour, textile design and pattern individually. I am a one woman band! This 100% cotton “Solar” Batik Asymmetric Jacket is painted by hand using traditional batik methods to achieve an abstract modern look. Batik is a method of wax-resist dying. Wax is first painted onto the fabric, then dye applied. The waxed portions resist the dye. Once the wax is removed the pattern emerges. This particular piece is labour intensive. Each colour requires the material to be painted with wax, dyed, wait for fabric to dry and then repeat the process for each deeper shade.

Art Slave Designs

Solar Batik Asymmetric Jacket
(Image by Vanessa Rudolf | Model: Julia Gingerich)

How do you keep yourself informed about what is going on within the art world, in Cambridgeshire and further afield? 

As a newcomer to the area it is a challenge to find my way around in the local art world. I follow artists that I appreciate – Kate Jackson, Workhouse England, Zoe Rubens, Deanna Tyson, Cate Hadley, Lillias August, Gabrielle Stoddard, Lucy Crick are a few that I have recently discovered.

Are you a member of any local art groups?

I am a member of Etsy Cambridge. It is such an inspirational group of positive talented entrepreneurs. I took part in their Christmas Market and hope to show with them in the future! I am currently putting together a 4-week Batik course – TBA. Last spring, I put on an Indigo workshop that created a lot of interest. I can offer Shibori and Silkscreening as well. Feel free to message me and we can make it happen!

Art Slave Designs

(Image by Vanessa Rudolf | Model: Julia Gingerich)

Where can people find your work?

I am excited to be a part of Living Crafts at the Hatfield House May 5-8 2016! Open each day 10-5. This show is chalk full of talented artists! I have some of my work posed on (visit Laura’s shop here). I work on an individual basis to create bespoke garments. Feel free to message me – even just to talk about colour!


Thank you Laura for taking the time to introduce yourself – it is great to hear more about your journey and we look forward to seeing you continue to grow your art business over in the UK. Please check out Laura’s website and make sure you are following her on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to get in touch with Laura directly to discuss a bespoke garment or for information on a workshop then drop her an email:!


    1. Hello Carol!

      I can most certainly make one for you! I believe you’re talking about the yellow-green pullover. You can contact me directly or order on my Etsy page.

      Here is the listing:

      As far as sizing goes, we can chat about fit. My garments are designed to be oversized.
      This is my most popular size:

      All the best!


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