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Work It Wednesday - Erin Lightfeather

So, it's the day after Halloween and we know how you probably feel - you enjoyed a few too many tricks or treats last night (we know we did!) You might be tempted to be a little lazy today, until you hear about all the things artist/designer Erin Lightfeather accomplishes in a day. Plus, her Instagram feed is one of the most beautifully curated ones we've EVER seen. Motivation, much? Welcome to another week of Work It Wednesday!

1. First off, share a little about YOU. Who IS Erin Lightfeather?

My name is Erin Summer and I am an artist/designer from Toronto. For the past 3 years I have been working under my Erin Lightfeather label, creating custom orders for people around the world. I am passionate about creating unique one of a kind pieces, mainly using feathers.

2. Sometimes you describe yourself as a crazy feather lady. Where did your interest in working with ethically sourced feathers come from?

As you can see, I have an immense love for feathers. I started working with them almost a decade ago when I 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. When I first started working with feathers, I never really put much thought into where they came from. It wasn't until I started using feathers as my main medium that I did the research, and I was really horrified with myself. I had no idea that there was a lot of unethical feather-harvesting practices in the feather industry. Since then, I only work with cruelty-free feathers. It can sometimes be costly and limiting in terms of the variety I have access too- but those limits have become an inspiration of sorts!

3. You’ve got quite a large following on Instagram (55K+). Why do you think you’ve been able to build such a successful brand?

I think the uniqueness of my art definitely plays a role. Social media- specifically Instagram-has been instrumental in my exposure and success. At this point, the majority of my clientele find me via Instagram, so that's where I invest my time. Instagram has been incredibly validating for me as an artist, and the positive feedback I got there actually gave me the push I needed to move forward with my very niche art form. I had to work really hard at the beginning to gain exposure. When I signed up for an account 3 years ago I used to spend HOURS on Instagram cruising through my favourite hashtags, and liking and commenting on everything that caught my eye. I really just dove in head first and tried to engage as much as possible. I think that benefitted me a lot the first year and then I started to get noticed by larger accounts who would feature me, and drive a lot of traffic my way. Since then I have relaxed a bit, but I still try to remain an engaged community member. (That current algorithm though.. it's tough! 😱🙈😅)

4. Can you share some tips for aspiring makers out there who are trying to make a name for themselves?

Get on social media! Start an Instagram account. (There is no greater way to get eyes on your work, IMO.) Follow and engage with other artists you admire. Post photos of your work. Ask your following for feedback. When you support other artists, they tend to support you in return. Experiment and have fun! Try not to let the success of other artists discourage you. Stay true to your art, and devote a little time -even just 5 minutes- to it a day. It's never too late to pursue your passion.

5. What has been the most exciting part of growing your brand?

The day I realized that I had created a career doing what I love!

6. Who are your favourite people to follow on social right now and why?

Oh boy that's tough! There are so many accounts that I love. My favourite accounts are fellow brands/artists/creatives who inspire me on a daily basis. A few of them are:

@designsponge (for featuring such amazing creatives)

@stellamariabaer (for her incredible painting)

@natalie_miler_design (gorgeous textile art)

@anyacaliendo incredible (couture millinery)

@hey.luisa (so whimsical)

7. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

That's a great question! Truthfully, I am still trying to figure out what I am, and what it is that I do (best). I have so many orders/commissions on the go that I am always just trying to catch up. I'd love to be more organized, be able to create some ready to order pieces, launch my jewelry line, and perhaps do another art installation down the road. It would also be fun to collaborate with other artists and designers!

8. How do you #workit everyday?

I start the day by making a list of all the thing I need to get done in order of priority. Having a list helps me focus, especially because my imagination tends to wander. I l also like to start my day off by browsing art and design online... seeing what's new and exciting gets me in the mood to create.