Artist Spotlight: BUTTER Design Lab

I'm very excited to spotlight Laura from BUTTER Design Lab today. Laura is a local (Dallas) artist that works primarily with upcycled materials and remnants to make pillows, tea towels, handbags, pouches, and more for her online etsy shop. She claims to be a thrift store junkie that loves the challenge of taking something that has reached the end of its current purpose, and finding new life for it.

Right now she is a proud resident of Oak Cliff, Texas a very artsy neighborhood of Dallas, but prior to that she lived in Savannah, Australia, St. Louis, and Virginia. She got her Masters in Furniture Design from Savannah College of Art and Design about 4 years ago, and moved to Dallas to work for a national retailer. Designing for mass production made her want to get back to working with her hands on unique items, so she began creating things in her spare time.

Laura has two dogs and three cats, all rescues, and a wonderfully supportive husband. She grew up learning the value of handmade with her mom sewing most of their clothes, and her dad building their house. Please welcome Laura...

Q:  By day you are a furniture designer.  Why did you also start an etsy shop called BUTTER?
A:  BUTTER serves as my hands-on creative outlet – I get to be creative at work, but just through sketches and the computer… so it is wonderful to be able to come home and work with my hands.

Q:  Why do you choose to use upcycled materials versus new? 
A:  There is so much potential in materials that are at the end of their life cycle, and it is rewarding to know that you are preventing things from going to the landfill.  I like the challenge that comes from designing new objects from old materials.

Q:  You print awesome lines from songs on your pillows and towels.  How did that come about?
A:  I’m a big music fan, and I’m usually blasting 70’s and 80’s music while I’m sewing…

Q:  You have been known to dumpster dive for furniture that has been thrown away.  What has been your favorite dumpster project?
A:  Probably my desk chair… I found it in an alley and it was pretty dang disgusting!  It took a lot of TLC to transform it into what it is, but now it’s something I see everyday and it inspires me. 

Q:  You have lived in many places including Australia, how did you land in the lone star state?
A:  I came for a job, not expecting to stay more than a year, but four years later here I am – this place certainly grows on you!

Q:  You researched traditional handcrafts such as weaving and knitting for your MFA thesis and mentioned that it has influenced your life and work.  In what way? 
A:  I did a lot of conceptual work on designing methods of mass production that created uniqueness in items through the hand of the maker. There is something so special about items in which the process of making is apparent...  similar to wabi-sabi and the beauty of imperfection, I guess. 

Q:  Who are your favorite designers?
A:  Ray and Charles Eames are incredibly inspiring – they found beauty in everything. Current designers include Patricia Urquiola, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Marcel Wanders, Front Design, anyone involved in Droog… there are so many great designers out there!

Q:  When you start a new project how or where do you gather inspiration?
A:  Many of my projects stem from the materials available.

Q:  Do you have a motto or advice for other designers just starting out?
A:  Don’t give up, believe in yourself and stay creative!

Q:  You are a member of Etsy Dallas.  Tell us more about that.  
A:  I love Etsy Dallas – it’s such a supportive, creative group and everyone is very committed to spreading the handmade love around Dallas!

Q:  What is your next big project?
A:  I’ve got a lot of things in the works right now… I’m developing a line of handbags made from upholstery swatches, as well as some furniture projects made from reclaimed wood.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I’ll have a booth at the Etsy Dallas Spring Bash on May 5th at the Palladium. 
Also, I’ve added a coupon code to my etsy shop, readers can get a 26% discount with code indigo26.

Not only can you find Laura at area events she can be found on the web...
Instagram: butterdesignlab

Thank you Laura for being featured on indigo 26 and for the awesome discount code!


Laura is offering a zipper pouch to a lucky winner to help me celebrate.  There is still time to enter. Just click here.  The winner will be announced tomorrow.