Lauren O’Mara

Practice: Knit and Mixed Media Textiles
Course of Study: Fashion and Textiles
Place of Study: Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
Materials: Acrylic wool and fabric




“During my last year of university, I wanted to develop my textile specialism as well as explore a challenging concept to research and gain knitwear ideas from. I decided to focus on communicating the complex subject of depression through visual information and create an interesting knitwear collection whilst gaining a better understanding of the illness. I moved away from the stigmatised and conventions of how depression is generally perceived and explored the theme through my own personal route and practice. This is shown in terms of literal research and visual stimuli such as photography, drawing and material exploration.

Distressed, distorted, tension and trapped were the key words that inspired my collection to convey the complex issues that surrounds depression. I created initial visual representations through photography, capturing visuals such as netting and ropes, capturing the pattern, shape, material and colour from these images. Photography allowed me to gain extremely valuable content in building inspiration for material manipulation and textile development. Mark-making and collage was also very important in surface, colour palettes and ideas for how I could approach creating mixed media textile techniques and patterns. After a vast body of research and developed images were created, I took this inspiration to the knitting machine and created a variety of knitted samples using a number of developed techniques. Trimmings and edges were also created on the knitted machine or by a variety of handmade processes.”

“Through selection, the heavily embellished knitted fabrics were then developed into a women’s knitwear collection. My final pieces included two oversized knitted jumpers that included chunky embellishments and trimmings, textured embroidery and vibrant colours which created a vivid display on the body. Whilst the final garment was a hand woven dress, each strand of yarn was brushed through to create an overall soft, worn out surface that allowed a variety of colours, patterns and tones to blend into one.

The overall weight of the collection was purposely finished to highlight the entrapping and heavy experience of depression. I wanted my collection to be vibrant and fun, inviting people to look at them, feel the variety of objects attached onto the garments and become intrigued to the initial inspiration and gain an understanding to the complex emotions and experience of depression. In addition these knitted wares also intend to be a form of comfort for those who suffer with the illness.”

View this film to find out more about Laura’s creative process.


Find More Of Lauren’s work and follow her on Instagram here @lola.o.95