ARTIST INTERVIEW: Wendy Polish of Le Feu De L’Eau
After years of experimentation with an underwater wax process invented by her father in the 1960s, Wendy Polish co-founded luxury boutique candle company, LE FEU DE L’EAU in 2011. What began as an ‘elaborate fine art project’ has now gained an international following. She stays actively involved as the company’s Co-Creative Director.
Wendy has been a part of the Echo Park Craft Fair since its humble beginnings in an Echo Park back yard. We spoke to her about her creative journey.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now.
Watching wax hit water for the very first time was captivating at a very young age. The result was more or less a rainbow monster. Part colorful coral part wicked worm. My father being an inventor was also a candle maker. The process was always more important than the product. Flash forward to 20 years later, I am a student at Art Center College of Design and our assignment is about process. It sparked the memory of these crazy candles. From there my dad and I started working together to refine the look and feel of the candles.
The challenge was trying to take his psychedelic candle and make it modern. I told him if he could invent a process to keep the candle diameter consistent, then I could put it in a box and possibly bring it to market. So he built a “candle making machine” and that was when it got real. Seven years later we now have a full service candle studio in Los Angeles where we create our own collections as well as design bespoke candles for other brands.
What would you say is the driving force behind your creative work?
The driving force behind my work is the desire to keep getting stronger at art that makes you think or feel. I’m inspired by great artists and designers, so my standards are set very high for the business. I’ve never looked at the candles as just a wax vessel. To me they’re mini sculptures that hold light. A little chunk of abstract expressionism for your desk, nightstand, or coffee table.
What are your most important artistic tools?
Adobe Creative Suite – Camera – Sketchbook – Museums
What criteria do you use to evaluate your own work?
When approaching design. I want it to be attractive, timeless, and legible. The design must be authentic to the product or the people behind it.
Design is absorbed through so many different mediums these days. The challenge is making the design consistent and attractive whether it’s a hard copy, or on the screen of a mobile device.
Do you have any objects you like to keep around you as inspiration? What are they?
I function better with nature around my workspace. Bringing the elements of the outdoors inside feeds my soul.
I recently found a tumbleweed and brought it into the studio. Its 4’ in diameter and is stunning. I’m drawn to art or objects that are formed by the forces of nature. It’s probably what captured my attention when the hot wax hit the water.