Meet Erin! She's her own boss creating and making beautiful art and designs with feathers. Based in Toronto, she's constantly dreaming up new ideas and expanding her creative muscles. Read more about her favorite spots in her city and how Instagram launched her business! Thanks for sharing and inspiring us.
WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW?
WHAT'S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE LIKE? ANY UNIQUE MORNING RITUALS?
SO YOU ARE A FREELANCE DESIGNER, TELL US HOW THAT STARTED! WHAT SPARKED YOUR LOVE FOR FEATHERS?As you can see, I have an immense love for feathers. I started working with them almost a decade ago when I first started designing bridal accessories. I didn't work with feathers all the time, but the pieces that I created with feathers were always my favourite. I just fell in love with their beauty and versatility. Try as I might, I have not found a material to work with that comes close to the ethereal beauty of a feather. It must have been destiny, because when I signed up for Instagram in May 2015 I wasn't thinking feathers, or business. I started it during a creative rut as an online portfolio to post inspo, DIY projects and that sort of thing. (I choose the name "Lightfeather" simply on a whim since "@erinsummer" was taken and I happened to be dying a batch of feathers that day.) I realized early on that my feather posts were generating more likes and engagement than anything else I was doing, so it gave me the confidence to streamline my work in that direction.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST, THE PROCESS OR THE RESULT?
This is a great question! I'd have to say the process. Though I do get a certain thrill from the results of a job well done, not all of my ideas end in success. I love the process of trial and error, discovering new techniques, new colour palettes and designs. Experimenting is where the magic happens!
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FOUR PERSONALITY TRAITS AND WHY?
CREATIVE- My brain is constantly thinking of new and unique design ideas, I very rarely find myself with creators block, which is a huge blessing! I cherish this quality about myself a lot.
DREAMER- Similar to being creative, but this trait can be a little more pesky. I am easily distracted by new ideas and I spend a lot of time with my head in the clouds.
COMPASSIONATE- Not only am I passionate about my work and the arts in general, but I am also passionate about ethical sourcing. I use animal products, and there are some very unethical feather harvesting practices out there. I am very serious about only working with cruelty-free feathers, and it gives me peace of mind to know that I am not making art at the expense of a living creature. I love all creatures, big and small!
ENCOURAGING- I love seeing others pursue their dreams, passions, and goals. I am always honoured when other creatives come to me for advice. It's wonderful to see people succeed and I feel passionate about encouraging others to really go for what matters most to them.
WHO’S YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION? OR MAYBE YOU HAVE A CERTAIN ENVIRONMENT THAT INSPIRES YOU?
My biggest inspiration is the art of haute couture and handmade fashion. When an artisan sits down and works by hand for hours, days or months to create beautiful and one-of-a-kind detailed work, that inspires me. In a world where everything seems to be driven by mass consumerism, traditional arts (in all forms) seem so luxurious and precious.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN?
Hmm, well I'm not sure that I have mastered this one quite yet! I probably spend more time than I should working on things that pop in to my mind at any minute. I find that my most creative state of mind happens after 10 PM, so I tend to stay up late. I also get a lot done on weekends. Luckily, I have an awesome fiancé who totally supports what I do, and gives me all the space I need to work. We are getting married this coming August and I should probably start planning that. lol
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT TORONTO? GIVE US YOUR TOP FIVE PLACES (RESTAURANTS, BARS, MUSEUMS, ETC.)
Oooh that's a tough one! Let's see..
- We have a lot of great museums in the city. My personal favourite is the Textile Museum of Canada
- Kensington Market is such a fun part of the city to visit. It's a quirky little bohemian neighbourhood with great markets, shops, food and art
- For special occasions I love to go to the rooftop bar at the Park Hyatt hotel. It has one of the best views in the city, and it has a very intimate, old school vibe.
- I may be biased, but my neighbourhood is awesome. I live in the King Street West area, and we have some of the best bars and restaurants around, as well as the vibrant theatre district. My favourite restaurants in this area are Le Select Bistro, Luckee, Cibo, and Rodney's Oyster House. (let's be honest, I love ALL the food.)
- Trinity Bellwoods park is my favourite park to grab a coffee and go for a stroll, people watch, and pet as many dogs as possible!
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING ON A DAILY BASIS?
I simply just LOVE what I do. I realize that my work is incredibly niche, but a big part of the appeal for me is doing something that is unique and special. Positive feedback from clients who are happy with pieces I have made for them is truly the spice of life, and the thing that fulfills be above all else.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN CREATIVE? WHAT THINGS HAVE YOU CREATED IN THE PAST AND WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS TO CREATE IN THE FUTURE?
I always WANTED to be creative, but I was never particularly good at any of the arts growing up. I tried dancing, singing, painting, playing instruments, etc. but nothing stuck. I sort of figured that it wasn't really meant to be until my 20's when I started to experiment with making fashion accessories. It was then I finally thought, huh maybe there is something here after all!
DO YOU FIND THAT YOUR CREATIVE AND DREAMER PERSONALITY RUBS OFF ON OTHERS? HOW SO?
Not to toot my own horn but yes I do think my creative/dreamer traits rub off on others around me. I have a few friends who have been inspired to pursue their creative passions after seeing and talking about my accidental but successful little art business. Erin Lightfeather is the result of both passion, and experimentation. I feel like that resonates with others.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED SO FAR THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCES? WHAT CAN YOU TELL A YOUNG GIRL THAT WANTS TO PURSUE SOMETHING SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
Spend more time creating and less time think about it. Try not to let the success of other artists around you discourage you. Don't forgot that you are a unique individual with a unique point of view and endless potential. Take the time to develop your craft, whatever it may be. Never give up on your passion, it's never too late.