The Home Front: Celebrating good design

Annual Etsy awards showcase original works by artists and makers from across the globe

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For the past three years, online maker marketplace Etsy.com has run an annual design competition to celebrate the original work of artists, designers and makers, from around the globe.

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The winner of the 2021 Etsy Design Awards (awarded US$20,000) is Candice Luter of Iowa-based Candice Luter Art + Interiors, whose Glissando mirror was chosen from thousands of entries.

Interior designer and HGTV host Leanne Ford of Home Again with the Fords was on the Etsy Design Awards judging panel this year and says Luter’s mirror is beautifully artistic.

“A mirror is something we use all the time, and it’s so nice to see a new take on it. That’s my favourite part about the Etsies, is finding new artists that you wouldn’t have seen or known about otherwise,” she says.

Ford says she uses Etsy a lot for her interior design projects, finding inspiration in the original artwork and vintage items she finds there.

“Etsy is inspiring – you can put in any keyword in there and see what comes up,” she says.

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Glissando mirror by Candice Luter Art + Interiors; Grand Prize winner of 2021 Etsy Design Awards.
Glissando mirror by Candice Luter Art + Interiors; Grand Prize winner of 2021 Etsy Design Awards. Photo by Courtesy Etsy /PNG

It’s quite a great time to be a designer, says Ford, because people can create things in a low-key, casual kind of way and have it seen by many people (through social media platforms). As a result, they are growing their brands organically.

“You can create the industry you want,” she says.

Ford worked in the fashion industry for fifteen years — as a creative direction and wardrobe stylist — before focusing on home interiors full-time, she says.

It began with simply designing her own homes and having friends ask if they could hire her to do theirs, and she always said yes, she says.

Ford says she loves designing interiors because your work creates long-term joy for those who live there.

“The happier people are when they’re in their homes, the happier they’ll be when they leave their homes,” she says.

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As for many people, the pandemic sparked significant change in Ford’s life, she says, moving from Los Angeles to a small town in Pennsylvania to be closer to family.

Living in a rural environment has been very freeing creatively, she says, with a lot of simple, quiet time between her busy schedule.

Wildflower bouquet by Noor Springael was awarded Etsy’s 2021 People’s Pick award.
Wildflower bouquet by Noor Springael was awarded Etsy’s 2021 People’s Pick award. Photo by Courtesy Etsy /PNG

“I always tell people, wherever you are, look up. There’s inspiration everywhere you go,” she says.

Ford says one of her favourite design collaborations so far has been with Crate & Barrel, who she’s worked with for more than two years now.

Her Ever sofa, Field chair and Canyon arched canopy bed have been very popular, she says.

“It’s been a total thrill,” says Ford.

For the 2021 Etsy Design Awards, Ford says she was taken with the foldable clutch by Larissa Hildmann, which won the Silver award.

“The origami clutch is stunning,” she says.

The “People’s Pick” award went to artist Noor Springael for her wilt-proof metal and glass wildflower bouquet.

Ford says the decorative details in this bouquet, such as the subtly textured seed pods, make all the difference.

“Everything should feel considered and chosen, even the little things,” she says.

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