The Creative HQ of Erin Lightfoot would turn any artist green with envy. Tucked away in the pretty tree lined streets of Brisbane suburb; Red Hill, Erin claims much of the ground floor of a large shared, two storied villa. At 28 years old, she has called the house “home” ever since moving up from Canberra to study graphic and then fashion design.
On sitting down with Erin in the breezy open plan living area, it was of no surprise to learn that she comes from quality creative stock. With an architect father and ceramicist mother, it’s quite possible that the writing was on the wall for her to explore art and design, and in my opinion, arrive at a truly unique style and medium. Her ceramic jewellery and vessels are special balance of simple but graphic design and I have literally gone around in circles for the last few years trying to pin down what to choose!
During her second year of Uni (where she was studying fashion design) she went on a 6 month exchange to Delhi, India. It was here that she found and developed her love of textile design, spending hours drawing intricate and endless patterns. With her final year project looming, she realised her strengths definitely didn’t lie in garment pattern making so she went all out concentrating on designing her own textiles. A decision that paid off when she was awarded a scholarship for her beautiful work at the completion of her studies in 2010.
Like all young and enthusiastic fashion graduates, she set out to earn her stripes in the industry but after a stint with a local label she realised that the commercial fashion world wasn’t for her. So she took a hiatus south to Canberra and embedded herself in her mothers studio – learning and experimenting with porcelain and growing an idea she had.
It took a month or so but finally she had perfected her own process and created porcelain bangles which she handpainted in her now signature, geometric designs. She also had found the perfect use of her scholarship money and used it to get the ball rolling on establishing a full range to take to the Brisbane Finders Keepers in July 2011.
Finders Keepers in all its well documented glory (can you tell I am a fan?) proved a great outlet for sales but better still for media exposure. Timing is so often everything when it comes to expanding a network, and for whatever reason, the well trained eyes of the Poepke boutique team in Sydney skimmed past her work and next thing she new she was not only their newest supplier but was also invited to create an entire window display. This association then landed her in the pages of Vogue magazine….ball rolling onward…
At this point she got savvy and sorted out her online set up with new branding, website and store. Slowly she has built up to a solid 10 stockists both in Australia and internationally which has also included her work being exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Always looking forward, this year Erin heads to China for 6 weeks. She will be taking up an artists residency at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen to further develop her work with porcelain and mould making.
I spent a couple of hours kicking around, eyeing her amazing space where everything from her kiln, to her finishing table, to her cleaning up area, painting table, computer, bed and dog seemed to have ample room to spread out (and look generally awesome.) It was a set up to be proud of and totally fitting for this growing brand successfully straddling art and design.All photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
WHAT I LEARNT FROM ERIN:
Erin paired up traditional forms of art and design with fashion and jewellery and came out on top. Don’t be scared to mix it up and look for ways to make your art earn you a living.