Lucinda Brown Gallery
Tucked away in the heart of rural north Buckinghamshire talented ceramic artist, Lucinda Brown works on creating unique designs and sculptures for her worldwide customers.
Lucinda Brown Gallery can be found nestled in The Granary, Claydon House, a picturesque setting befitting the uniqueness of this vivacious lady and her extraordinary gift.
The entrance is via a magical gravelled garden and at this time of year with crisp snow transforming the landscape, a warm welcoming sign is hung upon the closed wooden door, assuring warmth and friendliness within.
Music is an integral part of Lucinda’s day and often, when entering the gallery, there is this striking woman silently moving to the rhythm yet totally focused on her creation at hand. A warm smile ensures you are welcome to stay; to browse; chat; and Lucinda’s charisma affords frequent laughter from all who embrace her life.
Lucinda’s career has varied over the years from drawing life size dolly girls in the 60’s for boutiques such as GiGi’s in East London to collecting vintage clothes from jumble sales and charity shops, repairing or remodelling them to sell (as was the trend) until finding where her true talent lay. “By the 1980’s anything was possible on a sewing machine, including making headwear as the trend got going for soft hats.” Sitting in Lucinda’s Gallery surrounded by her renowned Fragment, Seaweed and Serenity Collections you can understand that there has been much inspiration in Lucinda’s life.
“My inspiration comes from life, the spirit and the body that we temporarily occupy. It’s the inner qualities of peace and clarity that mostly concern me. In the early 1990’s I knew I wanted to change my life around.
I could always draw. I loved looking at human bodies; at sculptures created by artists like Michelangelo and Rodin and wished I had those skills too. At the time I was dressmaking, bringing up my son alone and financially times were hard. Previously I had never thought of further education but I had to learn new skills if I wanted to bring about the changes that I sought. I realised then that you couldn’t just simply want to do something, to think about changing…. you have to actually do it!”
Watching Lucinda take a section of white, soft clay and transform it into a vision of beauty, I was eager to know more. “I was being pushed by events to find a better way to earn a decent income for us, so I enrolled on a one year Access to Art course. A grant was offered and I saw this as a way to go from unemployed to self employed. Part of the course involved a 6 weeks ceramic module. As soon as I touched the clay I found I could sculpt; and although highly frustrating at first, learning how to manipulate this very different material, I soon began to master its’ properties.” In the academic circle, her talent was being recognised and soon universities were offering her places.
“It was 1993, I met my then-to-be husband and after a few months, we moved in together and for the next for 3 years I studied ceramics at the University of Wolverhampton. Leaving Uni’ I took up an artist in residence opportunity at Bilston Community College and for 3 months I had use of a studio, giving me access to a kiln and equipment whilst I supported younger students. This was when I first displayed my ceramics at an exhibition, resulting in a local paper featuring my work.* ”
Customers are entering the gallery as we chat and Lucinda’s interest transfers to a group of elderly ladies who are discussing at length what material some brooches are made from. Intrigued, I watch. After what seems like an eternity one beautiful matronly lady turns and asks Lucinda “Will you put us out of our misery?” “Certainly, what would you like, gas or lethal injection?” After the initial shock came gales of laughter from the ladies then warmth and a real explanation from Lucinda! Yes, a sense of humour is embedded in her character!
Turning her attention back to our interview, Lucinda continues: “As the residency at Bilston was coming to an end, I was chatting to a tutor concerned that I did not know what I would do next, or how I could continue without the studio facilities. It was uncanny; no sooner had the words left my lips than the phone rang. The call was from the secretary of the Design Workers Foundation. They’d seen the press article* about me and had decided to ask me to join them, giving me another opportunity for one year, of a free studio and further training in teaching, business studies and I.T.”
Lucinda explains that there have often been times when she would dream of something and then it would materialise. “It happened again in 2000, I had a dream about this place (The Granary), with so much detail in it that when we came to view here I was staggered. As we walked past the front path my knees went, my eyes welled up and I clutched my husband’s hand, as this was the place I had dreamed about a couple of months before. In my dream it was a craft centre. Now 9 years later I find myself with a thriving gallery, supporting my flourishing ceramic arts business”
People come from as far away as Cheshire, Hampshire and beyond to visit the gallery. She takes her work out to ceramic fairs, networking with other people and artists promoting her art all over the world. “My work was recently shown at an exhibition in the British Consulate, New Delhi organised by Hand Made in Britain gallery.
I’m told that I was the best selling artist in the show.
Last year I completed a large order through the San Francisco Gift Fair for a corporate client based in Vancouver.
I took my Fragments to New Zealand for the Nelson International Potters festival, and a gallery near Melbourne has been buying my work for the past 4 years.”
“You asked what inspires me ? What a question? Everything!! The joy of being alive; passion; dancing; nature; music…. Also I try to remember that I am in charge of my own destiny. What I think about I bring about. One way I stay on top of things is to remember that when things are not going right, they really are! The challenges I face are exactly what I need in order to move on, to learn, to grow. I try to embrace challenges. When days are dark I can then see that I am looked after, totally protected. Even when my relationships have broken down and I’ve felt abandoned. I found my personal growth is testament to how it was meant to be. No matter what you face you need to remember that things do work out, so you might as well smile! Why wait?”
So how does Lucinda see her future? “There’s a lifestyle that I want to achieve. I have goals; own my own place; have my work shown in the Museum of Modern Art, and I know that I will achieve this. I use a variety of creative visualisation tools to keep me focused, I meditate daily too and this helps me remain positive, feel the peace in my day.”
Lucinda’s depth of feeling is expressed in her Serenity Collection “I choose to give them a serene expression. This is something that I embrace daily in my life. I have received letters and emails from people having seen the faces, felt moved to tell me how they made them feel peaceful and content for a few moments.
And for me, to be creative I have to find myself in that place. The source of creativity is within me. It is within all of us.”