Crafty with a needle and thread, a master of the yoga headstand and a covert plant whisperer, Echo makes the most of what little time comes in a 24-hour day. She’s inspired LPK employees across the globe to get out of our comfort zones and play with mediums that will help us grow into better creatives every day.
How long have you worked at LPK?
I’ve been at the LPK Guangzhou office since July 2010. I’ve traveled between the Singapore and the Cincinnati offices a few times, too.
Your paper cutouts have become legendary at LPK. Tell us more about your handiwork.
Papercutting is one of China’s oldest and most distinct folk arts, and one I have done since my grandmother taught me when I was a child. Every Chinese New Year it was my job to make beautiful papercuts to decorate our family home. Since I’ve joined LPK, I have made papercuts for this new family, too! In 2012 I made a full-size papercut I called “Lucky Dragon,” and in 2013 I made a video for LPK featuring several cutouts as a part of our traditional Chinese New Year celebration.
Most recently, I’ve completed two M.C. Escher-inspired pieces, called Angels and Demons and Three Elements. The positive and negative shapes use each other to create a new world. If you look closely at Three Elements, you can see tortoises, black swans and three fish.
It’s obvious you love working with your hands. What are some of your other hobbies?
I’ve developed a deep fondness for sewing. My grandmother taught me to sew when I was very little. She would sew vibrant flowers on our shoes and clothes. She used small, leftover pieces of fabric and stitched them together, calling it “bai jia bu,” which means “fabric from a hundred families.” Everything was very colorful and beautiful. To this day, I still collect all kinds of fabric and old embroidery. I turn them into all sorts of things, but my favorites are cushions for my couch.
What a great personal touch for your home’s décor! Any other handcrafted items accenting your space?
I also love dying fabrics, particularly because I love losing full and complete creative control. When I dye fabric, I never know what the outcome might be—it’s a complete surprise. I frame my favorite fabric dyes and hang them on the walls.
You’re one busy creative. Where do you go to get away and rest your mind?
I escape to my “secret balcony.” I love to come home after work and tend my secret garden. Often times, I’ll also practice yoga, read a book or relax on my swing. It’s a wonderful getaway.
Do you have any advice to help aspiring designers avoid creative fatigue?
Switch your brain’s tasks! In our line of work, stress is practically in the job description, and being under constant pressure to be creative can be a burden. If you do something different and get away from your work, it can give you a fresh outlook. Plus, you’ll likely learn something new!
Where’s your creative curiosity taking you these days?
It’s always a matter of the next thing waiting to be discovered or explored. I love to travel to different countries. I want to experience different cultures, meet new people and discover new things. I’m trying to learn about this world from different dimensions—it’s full of inspiration everywhere, even when we are just walking on the road.
Talk papercuts and exploring Guangzhou with Echo. Send her an email at email@example.com.