It all started with a shower curtain, or really a lack thereof. Laura Evans was determined to brighten the dull bathroom in her new home after moving from Brooklyn to Asheville in 2013. Her search for a high-quality, modern shower curtain was fruitless, leaving her wondering why she couldn’t just make one herself. In short order, Evans founded OUTRA, a home textile studio that produces handmade pillow covers, pouches, and shower curtains adorned with vibrant geometric designs.
Evans’ six years as a landscape designer for Brooklyn’s Prospect Park gave her a deep appreciation for clean lines and patterns. This simplicity on a grand scale was inspiring, but Evans craved vivid hues. “I love pairing up colors that seem fresh and different to me,” she says.
All of OUTRA’s home goods are handmade by Evans. Her process starts with a series of sketches that often feature angular shapes and unusual line designs. She refines the shapes and colors on a computer and then carefully paints each image on organic cotton. “Painting on fabric is tricky,” she notes. “You don’t want to seal it very much, but you need it to wash and stay vivid.”
Evans uses a nontoxic French fabric paint made by Pébéo that holds its color even after washing or hanging in the bathroom. For her shower curtains, she suggests using a liner, but otherwise her curtains are completely functional pieces of art designed for everyday use. Experimentation is at the heart of OUTRA’s approach. From the unconventional colors on the zippered pouches to the radiant curtains inspired by stained glass, Evans always strives to create something new.
“I have a real desire for novelty,” she says. “I try to come up with designs that I haven’t seen before or that seem just a little bit more bizarre and exciting.”
Evans brought her works to The Big Crafty in Asheville and Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago in 2015, but this year she is focusing on online sales. She wants to keep OUTRA a small, handmade studio with the potential to hire a few part-time employees. She can envision her patterns on other pieces of art like pottery or clothing someday, but for now she can be found transforming simple, functional items into dynamic pieces of art with every brushstroke.
Bring it Home
View and purchase OUTRA home textiles at www.outratextiles.com.