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Everyday Rituals Elevated, With Salad Days Ceramics

Creative People

In her novel Housekeeping, author Marilynne Robinson describes a grandmother hanging sheets on the line in spring sunlight as a performance of ‘the rituals of the ordinary as an act of faith’. This sentiment of everyday ordinary rituals also informs Lucy Coote’s collection of ceramics,  Salad Days, which are designed to last a lifetime.

Lucy talks us through her path from fashion to film-production, before taking the plunge into pottery as a full-time career.

18th December, 2018

Perfectly balanced – the new ceramics collection for Lucy Coote of Salad Days. Photo – Saskia Wilson. Styling – Alicia Sciberras.

The ‘morning breakfast ritual’. Photo – Saskia Wilson. Styling – Alicia Sciberras.

A perfect pair/pear of vases. Photo – Saskia Wilson. Styling – Alicia Sciberras.

The classic and contemporary design of Salad Days ceramics. Photo – Saskia Wilson. Styling – Alicia Sciberras.

Lucy Coote of Salad Days. Photo – Saskia Wilson. Styling – Alicia Sciberras.

Pottery designed to fit perfectly in your hands. Photo – Saskia Wilson. Styling – Alicia Sciberras.

The strong silhouettes of Salad Days ceramics. Photo – Saskia Wilson. Styling – Alicia Sciberras.

Miriam McGarry
Tuesday 18th December 2018

‘It excites me the most when customers email me to tell me how their mug has the perfect handle, and feels good to hold’. – Lucy Coote.

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.

 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net