Conceptual Collaborator & Communications Coordinator for POPPYOR and Co-Creator of Heirloom Evolution
Jessica Epperson-Lusty was born and raised by entrepreneurs who designed and built custom homes in the conservative culture of a southern Indiana river town. Her early days were imbued with the excitement of seeing designs on the page brought into existence on the site. Looking back Jessica sees that the potential of possibility held in the creative process sparked a curiosity that drives her to this day. Gaining the American pass to freedom on her 18th birthday, she loaded up her possessions and drove to Colorado embarking on a lifelong quest to discover different ways thinking and creating. After several detours and scenic routes full of interesting characters and sights she stopped off to hit the books. Studying with students from all over the world in her early 20s at Santa Monica community college inspired her to broadened the scope of her studies to include international perspectives with a focus on the intersection between culture and politics. After completing her BSFS she married and undertook the project of curating a life, nurturing two growing daughters and exploring myriad interests in the arts, design and humanities. All this time she was building her sense of how stories are the backbone of all creation: culture, structures objects of design…lives. Along the way she continues to develop skills of observation, communication and an orientation on design that she is thrilled to bring to POPPYOR in her role as Conceptual Collaborator and Communications Coordinator. In co-creating the Heirloom Evolution concept she brings her core aesthetic, ecological values and mindful approach to design to the question of how choose adorn ourselves and carry out pasts into our future.
What is your general aesthetics and style?
JEL: My orientation toward style is to try and cultivate a style that expresses your identity, which is why I seek out local artist & designers where I live and when I travel. I avoid trends and choices that speak to status in fashion and orientate myself to things that reflect individuality. It thrills me to find a line, especially in investment pieces like jewelry and shoes for example, from a designer that has a clear aesthetic and flexibility in the creative process that leaves room for customization. This was the starting point for my relationship with Poppy. I have had such a thrill working with her over the years on special pieces for those dear to me and for myself including a several gold chains and a signet ring, which led to our collaboration on Heirloom Evolution. Another great example is CYDWOQ out of Burbank California. I love how their design has a conscious reflection of classic vintage styles combined with beautiful contemporary twists. They leave room for client creativity by allowing customers to mix-and-match leathers of beautiful treatment and texture. I consider myself a conscious consumer who purchases few things that I love and I cherish them for years.
What drew you to POPPYOR?
JEL: I realize that this may sound like circular logic, however, it is my intention to live intentionally. My aim is to engage in endeavors and activities that reflect my core values and to ground myself in awareness, gratitude, wonder and conscious choice. That said, I love surprises and to allow situations and relationships to develop organically. My collaboration with Poppy unfolded in a way that truly embodies this natural kind of flow. The Heirloom Evolution concept reflects this in a satisfying way. I’m delighted by how meaningful it is to engage with the individuals as they share their stories, select designs and create pieces for them that reflect them.
Do you have an overarching philosophy that you live by day to day?
JEL: My philosophy is to experience, observe and process openly and curiously. My older sister Stacy, who is a counselor by nature, often advises friends “stay out of judgment and in curiosity.” I think this is a simple and wonderful orientation for life. I aim to stay open to wisdom and inspiration in whatever form it comes and I think we can learn to understand ourselves, our place in the world, and the solutions to many of the problems we face by looking inward observing our thoughts and feelings and outward at the intelligence of design on display all around us in the natural world.
Do you have any favorite quotes?
JEL: I begin most days with a few moments of inspiration and quotes are ideal for this. At the moment, I am turning to Tolstoy’s A Calendar of Wisdom: Thoughts to Nourish the Soul collection of daily readings that Poppy gifted me. I love that he draws on quotes from a long span of history and various cultures because in the commonality of the way each individual voice speaks to issues that are most central to our lives today I realize that each human life has its own span of maturation, development. It is heartening to be reminded that all throughout history individuals grapple with the central issues of what it is to be human while leading complex lives. I love that we can be nurtured and informed by any well-lived life that occurred anyplace at anytime. Quotes that move me the most are the ones that when revisited reveal my reveal my ignorance and hubris of the past. One example that comes to mind is of is the adage “it takes a village”, which was the title of a book published by Hillary Clinton when she was First Lady. I was a cocky 20 year old when it hit the press and I remember thinking: what is she talking about “it takes a village”? Then, I had kids and realized it takes a bleeeeepin’ village! This is a simple but stark reminder to me of how much the lens through which I see is limited and reminds me to continually look to broaden my perspective. It also gives me hope to be reminded that I am growing as a person.
Photography by Leslie Mansour