Projects at Poepke: Erin Lightfoot

January 16th, 2012

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Erin Lightfoot is a Brisbane-based print and jewellery designer. Drawing on her background in both graphic and fashion design, Lightfoot blends bold, Art Deco-inspired patterns with soft fabrics and delicate porcelain.

Projects at Poepke presents Erin Lightfoot’s second handcrafted jewellery collection. Extending her focus on graphics and pattern, this limited edition range bursts with energy and vivid colour. Zig zags, strong lines and asymmetrical patterns adorn porcelain bangles, hoop earrings and brooches. This Project also features a wider range of Lightfoot’s work, including her art prints.

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Erin, could you tell us about the pieces that will be a part of this Project?

I’m making a collection of colourful porcelain bangles and hoop earrings. This collection includes woven designs and blocky patterns with triangles of burgundy, pale mint, pink, banana yellow and bright blue. I make everything by hand using porcelain and decorate each piece with a digital print of my artwork.

Are there any particular styles, periods or ideas that inspire your work?

I take ideas from all over the place and splice them together, so each print channels a mix of styles and periods. For example, one of the patterns in this collection is influenced by Tahitian textiles and Pac-Man graphics. I tend to make everything asymmetrical and like to have breathing pockets in each design. My work seems to have an Art Deco look to it. Main influences I suppose are artists like Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky.

You started out as a graphic designer, now your work involves more tangible objects. How did this change come about?

Yes, I started out studying graphic and web design – by far the best parts of which were the art electives. Making tangible objects resonated much more with me than building websites, so after a bit of mulling I changed over to a fine arts degree majoring in fashion. In my graduate year, I focused on print design and I’ve been building on this since. I really like using my hands and working practically, so now I just think of things I’d like to make and then see if I can.

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You design across quite a few different forms, including furniture, clothing and jewellery. What ties it all together?

My print designs. I started drawing in a certain style quite a few years ago, then developed that look digitally and started designing prints for fabric. Since graduating, I’ve expanded on the uses for my print designs with upholstery projects and now my jewellery. I have lots of ideas for things I’d like to make but at the moment I’m concentrating on developing and expanding my jewellery range. I have ideas for wallpaper, and I’d like to try and make a light. If you can imagine something, there is probably a way to make it, you just have to figure it out.

All of your porcelain jewellery is handcrafted, is that right? Is this quite an involved process?

Yes it is and yes it is! There’s the print design aspect and then there’s the fabrication of the porcelain pieces. When I make something new, there is the initial challenge of figuring out how to actually make it but then a lot of the work comes down to the sanding, glazing and finishing of each piece. Each of my pieces is fired three times with various finishing and polishing processes at each step. I apply the digital print by hand which can be a bit tricky, so a lot of time and individual attention is applied to each piece.

When you’re not creating, what can we find you doing?

Thinking I should be doing more work! But, of course, I also do nice life things. Cook and have dinner parties, read, watch YouTube, go on the odd trip to the beach, drink wine, natter to my housemates, dance and think about future projects.

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Erin Lightfoot’s project begins at Poepke on Friday 20 January.

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