This blog is to share some of my thoughts and updates of the studio. Just to keep my memories fresh and hands busy aside from throwing on the wheel.
The first post is dedicated to my favorite ceramic artist, Lucie Rie (1902-1995). Probably a lot of you have heard of her name already. She was an Austrian-born ceramic artist who later settled in England due to the rise of Nazism in her country.
At the age of 20, she entered Kunstgewerbeschule, an art school greatly conditioned by the Vienna Secession. It is not hard to tell her style was deeply rooted in her cultural background, where the early concept of Secession was nurtured by architecture. She never went too far with her decorations. Instead, she focused more on the development of basic forms such as cylinders and bowls and the understanding of the materials.
To me, the smart thing about her works is applying lines to emphasize the structure. The thin rims also speak well for the simplicity of her design. However, did you know that when Lucie first reestablished her career in England, her works were criticized as "too thinly potted" and "had no humanity"? Aesthetics is such a subjective thing that changes from time to time. Lucie did try some heavy looking glaze but changed her style back thanks to encouragement from her life-long friend Hans Coper.
I always thought the forms of Lucie's works were very alien-like. She saw herself as an artist more than a traditional potter. Therefore, she went for boldness. Extremely wide rims, bulky bellies and long necks were her signature looks. Her works seemed so out of proportion as if they were going to collapse anytime. If you also throw on the wheels like me, you know how difficult it is to keeps these guys standing when dealing with wet clay. But I heard Lucie attached the wide rims to the vases instead of throwing them directly. A nice trick to learn.
I'm not going to talk too much about her life because you can Google her info at anytime with your smartphone. I like her not only because her aesthetic speaks to me, but also because I admire her strong spirit; after moving to England and losing everything, including her parents and career in Austria, she rebuilt her life step by step. Here are some more pictures of her works.
Author: Michele Xiaoyun Fan