Swill Magazine Issue 5 - Out Now

Inside the magic, dreamlike and food-obsessed world of artist and designer, Lucy Folk

Anna Webster

Lucy Folk
Lucy Folk

Had I interviewed Australian designer Lucy Folk over the phone, or been otherwise unfamiliar with her work, I wouldn’t have been able to see the anchovy-inspired golden cuff she was wearing around her wrist – a bestselling piece from her early ‘Pizza’ collection.

Instead, we’re in her Melbourne studio and store – a bright, breezy series of rooms inside the refurbished 1930s-era Windsor building she shares with her dad, Pitzy Folk, of sparkling mineral water brand CAPI – and I can see it firsthand.

“It’s always abstract,” she says. “It’s more about the shape and the texture. People don’t necessarily know what it is unless they ask.”

Growing up in a creative family – her dad made his fortune in hospitality; her mum was an interior designer; her sister Saskia is an artist; her great-uncle was famous Australian painter Hugh Ramsay, and her cousin is well-known fashion designer Arabella Ramsay – Lucy always knew she wanted to be an artist.

“Jewellery was something that felt really special, because the material is very precious and I loved the immediacy of being able to make something and wear it,” she says. “I was always enamoured by fashion, but [initially] I didn’t really feel like that was me so much.”

At 20, Lucy graduated from Melbourne’s RMIT University with a degree in gold and silversmithing and began trying to figure out what turned her on about jewellery. Her first few collections were sold through fashion boutiques Alice Euphemia and Assin (she would open her own stores in Crossley Street, Melbourne in 2011 and Bondi, Sydney in 2016), and were heavily inspired by food.

“It was a cool thing to do at the beginning because I was learning who I was and what my voice was in this new world, and it felt fun,” she says. “It was a bit of a poke at [my family] because we’re such food [lovers], and I always like things to have a playful and humorous nature.”

Eventually, food became a bit prohibitive. “Because I really went there. I did the pizza collection, I did bento, I did rice, spices, pretzels and popcorn…”

These days, Lucy casts her inspiration net a lot wider. There’s a food connection in her most recent collection, ‘Salt’, but her process now is to look at its place in history – where it comes from, and the way different cultures relate to it.


This is an excerpt from issue 3 of Swill magazine. Grab your copy today to read the whole thing.


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