Interview - Lucy Folk

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
5th of November 2010
Lucy Folk's brand new Mexican cuisine-inspired range - 'Taqueria'!
Earlier work from Lucy Folk - 'Nibbles'
Lucy's every popular pasta-inspired  jewellery range... and spotted below on Lily Allen!?

Ok so it is probably a well known fact that I maaaaay be prone to the odd girl crush.  Actually, I usually have a few on the go at any one time.  But there's always room for one more... and I think I just found one!  How cute / talented / funny and friendly is LUCY FOLK!?

I am just LOVING this interview with the very clever Ms Folk... her responses are so generous and just so funny! :)  You can almost hear her giggle as she wonders whether the installation at the recent launch of her latest 'Taqueria' range in Sydney was perhaps 'the biggest taco in the WORLD'!?   I also had a little chuckle hearing about the dangers of 'crazy dancefloor shenanigans' when wearing a Tortilla Chip Rosary Necklace!  Ha!

Lucy's infectious sense of humour is evident in her beautiful yet always fun and playful work.  Her food-inspired creations are just genius - from pretzels to pasta and popcorn and everything inbetween!  Her latest range - 'Taqueria' - is inspired by Mexican cuisine... Tacos and Cornchips feature heavily!  I am particularly enamoured with the Taco Hoop earrings and bracelets, and how about those Tortilla chip necklaces!?  Brilliant!

Lucy works from the Pieces of Eight jewellery workshop in North Fitzroy, which is run by the very inspiring Melanie Katsilidis, who I actually interviewed many moons ago, not long after I first started this blog!  You can buy Lucy's work at Pieces of Eight and other stockists listed here.

Huge thanks to Lucy for her time and all these beautiful images...!   Anyone else feeling a little peckish?

Lucy Folk and the GIANT taco at the recent launch of her Taqueria range in Sydney.  Awww. ain't she cute?
Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to jewellery design?

I have a creative background. My father has always been in hospitality and my mother is an interior designer. My sister is a photographer and she now works in the NT for Papunya Tula. Thus I knew I wanted to do something arty. I started jewellery classes, with a jeweller called Patsy Meares once a week after school when I was in year 11 and 12. I loved getting my hands dirty and creating something I could wear and appreciate the value of the materials. Working with precious materials is pretty cool but expensive!!  Following year 12 I went to RMIT and studied Gold and Silversmithing for 3 years. Then I travelled, interned with Chicks on Speed, came home and joined the Pieces of Eight workshop and started making jewellery as a profession.

In the past few years your work has received lots of well deserved attention from the press and apparently super cool celebrities such as Lily Allen!? What has been the most exciting highlight for you recently?

Recently I launched my new range…“Taqueria” with a bit of a Mexican fiesta in Sydney.  It was so much fun and a lot of hard work.  It was exciting to create an event that was entirely ME… even down to the hand drawn moustaches on the waiters. The Margaritas and the food were seriously tasty. The centrepiece of the launch was a GIANT gold taco made out of wood with a lot of naked light bulbs and a bright pink interior. The Taco housed my new collection and you could walk through it. It is 5.5 metres long so it really is HUGE.  Possibly the biggest Taco in the world!! It was great to see the whole event come to life and I was pleased with how it turned out. Even though I may have had too many margaritas.

Do you have a favourite piece?

At the moment it would be the Tortilla Chip Rosary Necklace.  It is a statement piece and you can’t go past a big solid silver tortilla chip with hanging triangles and handmade Aztec triangle chain. It is quite heavy so I better be careful of crazy dancefloor shenanigans wearing this one, otherwise I may get injured.

Silver pieces from the Taqueria range, including that dangerous Tortilla Chip Rosary Necklace!
Can you give us a little insight into your creative process – how do you first approach a new design? What favourite materials and tools do you use?

For this collection I researched Mexican Folk art, craft and food. I spent some time with Barbara Kenny who established Market Import… looking through all her fabulous books, and the beautiful things she acquired on her travels, as well as drinking a glass of vino which was delightful!  I also visited Casa Iberica and Aztec Foods to source the foodie side of things… that I would eventually get electroformed.

Drawing is imperative to my work, I sketch my designs before I start to make them in precious metals.

More from the Taqueria range - Frida Khalo-inspired flowers and friendship bracelets!

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I love to start the day with some exercise, perhaps a bit of a gym session.

Over breakfast I catch up on my emails. Then I head to the city to pick up some materials or castings before arriving at Pieces of Eight in North Fitzroy where I share a space in the workshop. I will spend the day managing my business via email, phone and making stock at my bench.. Plus a lunch date with a friend or a catch up with the studio crew over a homemade salad.

I usually leave the studio before 7 and head home to put my feet up, cook some dinner and hit the hay… eventually.

Lucy works away at her desk at Pieces of Eight!
Where do you turn for creative inspiration – nature, travel, books, the web etc? Definitely travel.. I love to pack my bags and head somewhere interesting and peruse the galleries, shops, cafes - you know just absorb all the culture I can!! I LOVE Paris and the Palais de Tokyo. I am a bit of a google fiend too, I spend most nights on my laptop, admiring all sorts of marvellous things people are up to.  I have a small library of books that I add to when I can and I always go back to. Which other artists / designers / creative people do you admire at the moment?

Brendan Huntley – is such an impressive artist. His ceramic sculptures are ingenious and his paintings too. I have acquired a few of his pieces and they sit proudly in our house. You may have seen his work at the Melbourne Art Fair or at some of his solo exhibitions. It is so nice for people to be courageous with their art.

Arabella Ramsay – is my cousin and she is a fantastic designer. All of her shops are filled with the most wonderful clothes and objects, hats and jewellery.  Her vision is never compromised by trends, she just makes gorgeous garments that please a lot of lucky girls and her styling is refreshing and colourful. This sets her apart from the predominantly “dark” fashion that typifies Melbourne. Melanie KatsalidisPieces of Eight mastermind and a good friend. Mel is an ambitious, highly intelligent, talented encouraging woman. Mel is a mentor to a lot of contemporary jewellers, she really nurtures all her artists and curates a special selection of jewellery and objects. PO8 is moving… and Mel has been hard at it getting the new shop ready to knock the socks off all those contemporary jewellery loving folk out there !! Be sure to look out for it opening in early December.
Lucy's earlier 'Seafood' collection featuring lobster claws, caviar and oysters!
What would be your dream creative project or collaboration?

Hmmmm… I would be thrilled to get the opportunity to collaborate with an international fashion designer. It would be fun to make a collection for the runway that was completely oversized and wacky. I would love to have a little display in Dover St Market in London… that is something to work towards.

What are you looking forward to? My engagement party this weekend and summer of course !

Melbourne Questions -

Your favourite Melbourne neighbourhood and why? This is tricky indeed. I would say North Fitzroy. The café’s are enticing and relaxed, and the Edinburgh Gardens are just across the way from Pieces of Eight.  Plus the Bowls club for a G and T or a BBQ with bowls of course! What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne? Our family dinners are always festive and we had a delicious meal at The Melbourne Wine Room in St Kilda. I prefer uncomplicated food that uses seasonal ingredients. The company was top notch too! Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning? Down the coast, either at Lorne or Swan Bay.. Walking along the beach with a grumbling tummy ready for a hearty breakfast. Melbourne’s best kept secret?

Cookes Food is a treasure trove of treats in Toorak.. (would you believe it )! Sophie Cookes and Nicole de Bono run a rustic, welcoming food store, café and catering business. Seasonal produce is the name of the game and Sophie worked under Skye Gyngell at Petersham Nurseries in London. They run cooking classes in the shop and you can have a catered dinner party instore too.

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