I find today a good day to talk about Lucie Rie. I feel she was a romantic. I am not sure if this is because the woman (Pamela Nagely Stvenson, a romantic in her own right) who introduced me to Lucie Rie’s work, talked about her with so much joy. I smirk in awe just thinking about Pam talking about Lucie making pots through a war with few materials- always elegant sharp pots- just like the maker herself. I read once that when asked by her circle of friends and acquaintances about her work she would shun away from answer and say “I just make pottery”. But she didn’t just make pottery she made a legend. You see it was a man’s game, the pottery game, back then. Actions speak louder than words and in Lucie Rie’s case her pots sing.
I remember the first time I saw one of her vessels, not in print, but in person, it was an unexpected occurrence, I turned a corner in Canberra’s National Gallery of Australia and there it was amongst other unnamed works, subtle and quiet and strong. I fell in love. I guess I fell in love “again”, but in person this time it was a true love not one built on exerts from books and letters and photographs, a real love. The fantasy was gone and I was happy with the reality.
Lovers are teachers after all. Lovers of ceramics most certainly are, they exude joy or at least their art does. It is of course impossible to do this all the time and in these slushy winter months it may be harder to show such passion. Yet we know all ceramists are passionate because it is too tough a job for those not head over heals.