Sydney-based Lucy Coote of Salad Days grew up in a small town in New Zealand, in a family with strong creative leanings. Her parents ran a shop filled with their own handmade furniture and kids clothing, and encouraged imaginative and tactile play for Lucy and her sister. After a childhood of fire-pits, sewing and building, Lucy studied fashion and business, before working in film production.
Lucy’s path to pottery is (reassuringly) paved with lopsided bowls and cracked vases. She initially took night classes as a distraction from her office job, but explains that she ‘really sucked and my pieces were terrible!’ Perseverance paid off, though – ‘I became a total teacher’s pet, asking questions at every step and once I finally “got it” the addiction to pots set in’ Lucy recalls. (Encouragement to keep making those wonky pots for any beginner ceramicists out there!)
Lucy joined a potter’s association and practiced whenever she could, determined to master the wheel. Initially, she sold work to friends and family, before gaining stockists and setting up her own online store. Eventually, pottery began to take up more and more of her life, and she stepped away from her full-time job, to pursue ceramics. She explains ‘so, I left my job and consequently fell pregnant with twins!’
Despite having full hands with two babies, Lucy returned to the wheel when the girls were a few months old. She highlights ‘its definitely helped me to cope with having twins, having a break from them, and a creative outlet other than milk, nappies, and sleep (or lack thereof).’
The meditative calm of Lucy’s process is captured in her latest Salad Days range – a collection of bowls, tumblers, mugs, vases and serving bowls which tread the careful line between traditional and contemporary. ‘It excites me the most when customers email me to tell me how their mug has the perfect handle, and feels good to hold,’ says the potter, ‘or their bowl is the perfect size’. Rewarding feedback for a maker who takes great pride in creating timeless pieces for the most simple of daily rituals, such as a bowl of porridge in the morning, or an afternoon cuppa.