For Laura Muir, art is a way of connecting with joy in the moment. And she hopes that sewing with fabrics from her upcoming Brightly Blooming line will give quilters that same feeling.
Laura, who hails from Utah, has been painting since she was a young girl and took art lessons, which she continued throughout her school years. She painted mostly realistic subject matter, including portraits, with oil paints. She rented studio time for painting during a difficult first pregnancy and realized that while she loved the act of painting, oils weren’t meeting her needs. “It didn’t bring me peace,” she says. “It was another thing to control and fuss over.”
After the birth of her second child (Laura has an 11-year-old daughter and 7- and 4-year-old sons), she picked up watercolors. “Dabbling in them was a form of therapy, almost,” she says, noting that she thoroughly enjoyed their free-flowing movement. “Oil painting was an exercise in perfection, which I was trying to get away from. It’s taken me years of practice to ‘untrain’ myself from working realistically, but now making art is soothing and all about finding joy and peace in the process.”
Inspiration for her works comes from the landscape around her and a love of florals. She learned that her great-grandmother, who she never knew, had been a talented water-color artist who painted similar subject matter. “I care a lot about the history of families and it feels like I’m connecting with her through this practice,” says Laura.
Creating fabric is another way for Laura to connect. Her collaboration with Moda began when she met design director Cheryl Freydberg at the stationary show in New York City, where Laura was exhibiting her first collection of water color-illustrated stationary. “There is a big divide between people who can afford original artwork and those who can’t, and I wanted to find a way to bring fine art into people’s homes,” she says. While she imagined paper goods as one way to do that, she’s delighted to add fabric to the mix. “It’s been an important focus in my life and Moda’s ability to do digital printing meant that the movement and flowing style of water color could be reproduced well.”
Sewing was something Laura learned from her mother—a talented maker of clothing—and her grandmother worked with her during high school on her first quilt (queen-sized). “It’s so exciting to be designing quilt patterns and fabric and bringing that aspect of creativity into my work,” she says. (That’s her Watercolor Swirl quilt, above.)
In addition to sewing, Laura plays pickleball every day and calls herself a serial hobbyist. “It’s kind of a disease,” she says with a laugh, noting that her Dad passed that particular trait on to her. “He can do anything!” If she’s not painting or sewing, you might find her beading or cooking and baking with her kids. “I always have a ‘next project’ on my list,” she says.
Laura’s excited about the panels in Brightly Blooming. One says, “There are always flowers for those who wish to see them,” which is something Laura tries to impart to her own children. And the second says “You are so loved.” “I want everyone who sees it to feel it,” says Laura.
Laura’s Brightly Blooming fabrics will be in stores in March, just in time for spring sewing. What do you think you might make with them?