Interview with Laura Cone
1. Have you always been a tufting artist, or did you begin with a different medium?
- Tufting is new to me!! I studied fine art at OCAD U (I majored in sculpture and Design), but when covid hit I needed something I could do inside that was relatively tidy and quiet. I had come across the work of Hannah Epstein, and was inspired at the realization that rugs could be any shape (silly, I know). I ordered hand Punching needless and yarn, and since then it has been my main medium!
2. How did you set up your first studio outside of school (any tips)?
-work with what you have! I was hand punching on my couch for months before I sold enough work to be able to afford a tufting gun, a larger frame, and more materials. I only recently started renting a space to work out of that ISNT my apartment. I think working from home is a big reality for a lot artists, and my tip for that would be to make sure you can walk away from your work. Cover it with a blanket if you have to, but give yourself some space from it. And storage. Lots of storage!
3. What concepts drive your work?
Though I studied at a conceptual art school, ive never liked focusing on it. If I had to pick, I'd say that right now i'm interested in portraying the boredom, monotony and ennui of life (jobs, routines, and now covid etc...) in a humorous way. Drawing depleted expressions in bright cheerful colors makes me laugh. Life is funny, moods are funny, being annoyed or exhausted is funny!
4. How do you balance making personal work and making work for your business?
- I force myself to carve out space to experiment on each frame, and usually try to start with those pieces before I'm so tired of punching that I rush through them. Im lucky that what I enjoy making, is what people are interested in owning, so personal and business work overlaps a lot. I don't take Commissions I'm not interested in, and I don't force myself to produce something I don't like. Right now I'm doing an entire frame of pieces that aren't Commissions to give myself freedom from expectations, which is nice.
5. How do you decide which new ideas to pursue?
- I try not to think too much about which ideas to produce. Usually it comes down to what fits on the frame in the most efficient way. I get the most hung up on color choices, but ultimately I start with what I know for sure (black and white usually) and go from there, always making a call when I've thought about it for more than a few minutes. Sometimes I let someone else pick a piece or color to take some pressure off, and then I just go with it!