SL: Carla! Tell us about yourself and your work with Silk Laundry.
CB: I started with Silk Laundry as the first retail store opened about 3 years ago. I manage the James Street shop. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the journey and seeing the brand grow. I have a lot of respect for the people, ethos and passion behind SL. I have a wonderful staff and have made some great friends along the road. Of course, I also enjoy helping customers and providing a welcoming and genuine experience in store.
SL: How important is it to you to be hands on, or crafty, in your work?
CB: I really enjoy making and fixing things and have acquired lots of practical skills along the way, which I try to bring to whatever work I’m doing if I can. Sewing, altering and repairing is something that blends easily to my time at Silk Laundry.
SL: Your most recent craft project with Silk Laundry was the sculpting of 10 paper mache animals and plants, all of which appear in our Endangered Species print. How did you feel approaching this big task?
CB: Funnily enough I’d been thinking about paper mache for a couple of weeks before Katie called me about her idea and in fact, the day she called I had some paper mache supplies with me and was thinking about starting a small project. Weird, huh?! I was really excited by her idea of large paper mache animals in store to accompany the print and was eager to design and create the display. That being said, I had no clue how to execute it or even where to begin.
SL: How was the process, are you proud of the final product? They’re beautiful.
CB: Aside from some paper mache flowers I made to decorate my bedroom in the early 1990s (haha), no, I haven’t done anything like this before. That said, I really like the challenge of working with different materials and problem-solving in 3D. I tend to work on things obsessively, until everything feels just right. I’m satisfied with some animals more than others - the first few made definitely have a few strange lumps and bumps! I think the more I worked, the more I understood the nature of the materials and developed a better eye for sculpting the forms.
SL: What was the most difficult Endangered Species creation to craft, and why?
CB: They were each challenging in different ways. Trying to create large rounded forms with chicken wire and attaching legs wasn’t easy, especially while arms and hands were getting scratched and poked by sharp wire edges. What is it they say about suffering for your art?
SL: Have you always been drawn to the crafty?
CB: I’ve always made, repurposed and decorated things to keep myself occupied - jewellery, objects, furniture, clothing. How far does this crafty side extend? Aside from being interested in various craft practices and inspired by incredible craftsmanship, I also like craft beer, The Craft movie, the band Kraftwerk, and Kraft Singles.
SL: What inspires you?
CB: I’m inspired by clothing and object histories and the beauty of the old, worn-out and neglected; things that have been discarded and their potential for transformation; by clever construction; and by talented and creative friends who constantly push themselves and their work. I’m really in my element when I’m scouring a flea market in a foreign country.
SL: What do you get up to in your spare time?
CB: In my spare time I try to work on unfinished design projects but more often than not I just end up cleaning or rearranging my studio then going out for beers... craft beers!
SL: Do you have any personal projects that you’re working on?
CB: Mountains of them - that’s why I need to keep my studio in order!
SL: Finally, what are your top 3 recommendations from the 2021 Uniform Collection, and why?
CB: The Black Silk-Linen Trousers are my alternative to jeans; and the Black 90s Slip Dress and Ribbed Turtleneck are staples for layering. Can I give a shout out to the Black Short Sleeved Boyfriend Shirt too please?