Laura Callaghan Studio Tour
We are beyond the realms of acceptable excitement to be working with one of our long-term creative crushes Laura Callaghan. This collaboration has been a long time in the making as we began exchanging ideas over a year ago, and now here it is, launching slap bang in the middle of a pandemic
What tempted you to work with Lazy Oaf?
I’m a big fan of Lazy Oaf, so much fashion takes itself too seriously and I like clothes that have a sense of humour. I’ve made screen printed t-shirts and embroidered patches in the past and have always wanted to explore apparel a bit further but without a ton of money, production knowledge and time that’s a difficult thing to do so this was that perfect opportunity to explore designing things I’ve never be able to make myself!
This has been a long time in the making, what have you enjoyed about the process, and do you have any favourite pieces?
It has! I’ve enjoyed all of it, it’s rare to have so much freedom when working with a client so that’s been great. I really enjoyed coming up with the initial concepts, the bit at the beginning of a project like this is always the best because you don’t know where the parameters lie and what is not achievable so your idea of what is possible is wild. But every bit of the process has been great, seeing the detail of the swing tags and metallic labels when I got my samples through made my day :)
My favourites are the button-up shirt, the colours are so vibrant! And the printed mesh top, I can see myself wearing that a lot underneath things or on its own.
Clothing is great narrative tool in illustration and brings me genuine joy in actual real life"
Your illustrations are incredibly detailed and feature women wearing incredible clothing (they have a dream closet going on), immersed in incredibly detailed locations and situations, do you think you are a closet fashion designer?
Ahaha, I would need a more technical and mathematical mind than my own to become a designer but I love drawing clothing and it’s a big part of my work. Clothing is great narrative tool in illustration and brings me genuine joy in actual real life. Even if you think you don’t give a crap about clothes what you pick out for yourself says something about who you are
What’s your WFH set up, how’s it going for you?
I moved to Belfast in late November after 10 years of living in London and I’m working from home in a spare room. It’s been a strange few months in a new city, I was hoping to find a studio space before this all happened but I’m grateful to have the room at home to work and I finally have a little garden so that’s been great. I’m used to working on my own so I thought this would be easy but you forget about all the the interactions you have in a regular day, even having the possibility of interaction keeps you sane, so this has been challenging but restrictions are easing up a bit here in Northern Ireland.
How did Oaf Henge evolve itself as a concept and how do you think it turned out?
I started coming up with ideas around this time last year so the sun was shining and we were coming up to the summer solstice. In Co. Meath, about half an hour from where I grew up there’s a there’s a neolithic burial site called Newgrange which predates the pyramids. The passage tomb was constructed so that once a year on the Winter solstice the sunlight hits a window box above the entrance and the inner chamber of the tomb floods with light. I was drawn to this connection our ancestors had to the sun and the earth and the reverence for the changing seasons, so I used solstice as a jumping off point and then explored celtic symbols, mysticism and similar sites of worship like Stonehenge, drawing as much material and symbols as I could.
The team at Lazy Oaf then worked out how the illustrations might be applied to the clothing and what shapes and fabrics would work. I’m really happy with how it all turned out. We had to lose one or two pieces which is a shame but overall the collection looks great and I’m ecstatic that I got to put a full on, fanny out sheela na gig on a dress!
I’m trying to see this as a time to have fun without pressure rather than the time I’m going to write and draw my magnum opus!"
What are your tips for keeping it sane?
Usually I’d limit the amount of time I spend online but that seems unavoidable and unadvisable at the moment when there is so much going on and so much to learn. It helps to do something that punctuates the day, I take a break to do exercise or walk in the afternoon and when my partner comes home from work we eat together and watch something. Very obvious tips sorry, I am not a sanity expert.
What’s getting on your last nerve?
My own brain, my moggy eyebrows
How have you managed to keep creative / inspired in this time?
I don’t know that I have outside of the commissioned work I’m doing and that’s my job so there’s no option not to be creative! I’ve found some distraction trying new mediums, I made some paper cuts and I’m trying out air drying clay. I’m trying to see this as a time to have fun without pressure rather than the time I’m going to write and draw my magnum opus!
Anytime I get to talk to friends and family, learning how to make a frozen margarita.
Do you want it all to go back to normal after this or you going to change it up?
This time has made it glaringly obvious that normal was not working so I have no desire to go back to normal globally, systemically or personally. So much about how we’ve been living and how society is organised is fucked so I really hope there is no return to what was. From a personal/work perspective lockdown has taught me I’ve spent too much time working and not enough time living so hoping to change that!
Best Covid conspiracy/gossip you heard?
I have an Irish Mammy, I learned to tune out the WhatsApp conspiracy threads in week one ahaha