Lucy Burke found her creative calling by dabbling in almost every medium until one of them captured her heart.
The Torquay artist’s patient process of elimination led her to printmaking and the connection was instant.
“I was trying to find something new I hadn’t done before and I went into my favourite art shop one day and thought ‘ooh, printmaking, I’ll give that a whirl’,” the 29-year-old recalls.
“I loved it.”
That was two-and-a-half years ago and since then Lucy has used traditional lino cut techniques to bring her illustrations to life, carefully hand carving and printing every design produced under the Loose Ink Design label.
Each work reflects her love of nature and human connection, with mountains, sea creatures and human hands featuring prominently in her designs.
But more than simply being a creative outlet, Lucy says art has nurtured her through some confronting mental health battles.
Lucy, who grew up on the Bellarine Peninsula, had just moved back to Australia after five years spent living in Canada and admits she felt displaced.
“Canada had become home to me because my friends were there, my partner at the time and a great job,” she says.
“But I ran out of Visas and all my options to get another one fell through.
“It was a real shake-up because I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself – I was feeling unstable which challenged my mental health.”
Lucy says that experience, while thankfully behind her, has helped to map out her future direction.
She is now studying psychology with a view to becoming an art therapist.
Already a qualified yoga instructor, Lucy says her big dream is to combine art therapy with her passions for yoga and hiking through specialist day retreats.
“Art is just such a therapeutic way to get in touch with our feelings and emotions,” she says.
“Art therapy both on an individual level and as a group can be so beneficial for confidence building and mindfulness, especially in this day and age where we are always switched on and in our yang energy being busy.
“It’s such a beneficial practice to feel comfortable and safe to slow down.”
Along with her university studies, Lucy has reached out to a coach to help her expand her business and take it to the next level.
Lucy’s linocuts feature on everything from prints and cards through to journals and ethically sourced t-shirts.
She is also about to launch a website, having previously sold her work mainly through Etsy, social media, local markets and group exhibitions such as last year’s Art Local show held at Ocean Grind.
“Here in Torquay we have got such a great community that is really supportive of each other,” she says.
“You see it in the cafes, restaurants and retail stores that are still open and helping each other out.=
“There is such a shift to locally made and sourced and supporting small business.”
Lucy would encourage anyone feeling isolated or unsettled during the lockdown to pick up a paint brush and explore their creative side.
“Everyone is creative in some way – it’s a natural thing that we all have,” she says.
“Maybe don’t have too many expectations to begin with – just do it for the love of it.”
To find out more about Lucy’s work follow the Instagram @looseinkdesign and the website looseinkdesign.com, which is launching soon.