Words and photographs by Georgia Blackie.
We visited Lucy Leong's little home studio at the bottom of her garden in the Inner West of Sydney, where she produces Salad Days, her range of ceramic homewares that includes wheel-thrown earthenware vessels, and cute hand-built pots, planters, plates and pitchers.
Although a place of work, Lucy's studio feels like a haven, a space in natural hues - and spending time there with her, we could tell this is an extension of the calm energy Lucy has herself. An impressive feat given that she is a new mother of twin girls!
ALAS: What prompted you to make Salad Days a business?
L L: I started making ceramics as a hobby and slowly started to sell to friends, then the obsession took over and I wasn't able to fit it into my weekends and evenings. I made the decision to spend more time on the business towards the end of 2016. It was when I was faced with the decision of taking my career at the time further (and giving up ceramics to do so) or leave that job to free up time to focus more on ceramics. although I loved my other job the decision was easy when I decided to choose the one I was more passionate about. I had never had this feeling before of really knowing and loving what I was doing so it felt great to follow it.
ALAS:Your ceramics are made to play a part in your customers' daily rituals - what daily rituals do you engage in, and what benefits do you yield from them?
L L: Ha, well at the moment it is very hard to indulge in any sort of pleasant and slow rituals as I have baby twins! However, to get through my day I do need to be very structured and organised. So I guess it is a series of rituals that form the basis of the day, and then it is just crazy in between. There are a few things I do which help me feel set up for the day which you could call a ritual, even though some days I don't leave the house until the afternoon (or at all). I make sure I eat breakfast and drink a cup of tea (bonus points if I get to drink it while it's hot), wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed and put my jewellery on. This helps me to feel calm and ready for the day. If I don't do it then and things go off the rails with the girls I feel like a crazy woman. It helps me to feel like I have control over something if I have managed to have eaten, gotten clean and dressed.
ALAS: Life so far with twin eight-month-old babies must be pretty wild! When you get a chance, how do you unwind and take care of yourself?
L L: Yes it is wild! To be honest, free time is pretty rare at the moment. This weekend, for the first time since the girls were born I went to the movies, I sat in the lounge with a wine and popcorn and it felt pretty great, I really enjoyed being alone and not talking to anyone. Going to the studio is a break for me too, even though it is work I feel calm as soon as I walk in there... and being able to indulge in being creative and getting in my flow on the wheel is very meditative. The girls are about to start daycare two days a week and I can't wait to spend some more time on myself and also in the studio listening to podcasts and audio books which I find a great way to take my mind off things and escape a little.
ALAS: Can you recommend something that you think is generally underrated?
L L: Sleep!!!