Meridith Lichangco

Interview with Meridith Lichangco, LICC Winner in USE (Product) in the Non-Professional Category

Why did you choose to pursue a career as a designer? When did you realize you wanted to pursue this as a career?

Creating has been my passion ever since I was a little girl. I’d always play with clay and paper machè. I didn’t know it then, but I always wanted to design, create, and turn my ideas into reality.

How does it make you feel to win the London International Creative Competition USE award?

Words can’t describe it, really. Honoured and ecstatic! I believe in Kaia so much, and the award just goes to show that my design can touch people, and make people feel. That’s fascinating to me.

What do you feel makes your work stand out, that drew the judges’ attention to it?

I made Kaia to depict hope during the pandemic. I wanted to create something buoyant and go with the flow during these turbulent times. With its intricate detail, every scale is placed to create a form that mimics the calmness and grace of fish dancing in the water. The judges perhaps saw how detail oriented the piece was.

Photo credit: Meridith Lichangco
Photo credit: Meridith Lichangco

How did the idea behind your winning project come about?

As a designer, during the lockdown, everyone was boxed in 4 walls and my energy was set to divert my mind from isolation. From my pandemic anxiety, I have transported them to something positive. Thus, Kaia gave hope to me personally. In trying times, it gave me something to pour my energy into. As a form of therapeutic escape from reality, to embody freedom and hope for a brighter future.

What do you see as the most significant difficulties and opportunities in your current job/industry?

The craft industry in the Philippines is at a crucial crossroads. We’re in the time whether the industry could adapt and innovate to compete with mass-manufactured products, or remain in the status quo and be engulfed by the wave of industrialization.

Tell us a bit about your creative process. Where do you find your inspiration?

I always want to add my personal touch to what I create. I draw inspiration from personal experiences, from nature, and aim to experiment or play with different forms and materials.

What impact does your background have on your work?

When I got in as a designer for Kenneth Cobonpue, I was inspired by how these beautiful things can narrate a story. It’s not only the design part that I learned from him but also the ability to create heartfelt designs that can speak to people.

Who or what are your biggest artistic influences?

I draw inspiration from different artists but mainly my works are influenced by other works of art, experiences, and nature like flora and fauna.

Photo credit: Meridith Lichangco
Photo credit: Meridith Lichangco

How has your own style evolved over time?

My style has grown the same way as I have grown personally. My pieces have grown more in terms of details and the story portrayed. 

What are your long-term professional objectives?

It has always been my personal goal to continue to promote Filipino craft to the international stage. There is still a lot that we can offer to the world.

What significance does your art represent for you personally and for your audience?

For me, I find sanctuary in my art. While working on my pieces, I find calmness and escape that are therapeutic in a way. I want to share this feeling with my audience through the story they depict. The world is moving too fast and there are so many things happening every day, with that being said, I want people to find solace in my works and be able to reflect as it does with me.

How do you envision the future of your industry? What do you see as the most significant difficulties and opportunities?

The pandemic has been the world’s most challenging adversity for the last two years. The craft industry is one of the most gravely affected by this. But as every storm passes, and as we all learn to adapt to the new norm, I’d like to believe that there will be plenty more possibilities and a brighter future ahead.