Creative Encounters: Lucy Burley

Creative Encounters: Lucy Burley

As part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, we're sharing the stories of how many of our artists and makers came to join the Byre Gallery, and this is the tale of Lucy Burley.


“Bottle Mania”, was how one client described the Private View of our 2016 exhibition ‘Out of the Picture’ - she wasn’t referring to the amount of wine consumed that evening but the popularity of a collection of ceramic bottles by a maker new to the gallery, Lucy Burley.  I’d rarely seen such a flurry of red-stickers in an exhibition, so I knew that this was a ceramist I needed to keep hold of! 


I first saw Lucy’s ceramics early in 2016 in a gallery in Cirencester and I knew straight away that Lucy's ceramics would be a perfect fit for the Byre Gallery - her beautiful simplicity of form enhanced by exquisite glazes was a winning combination. I quickly sent off an email asking her - at fairly short notice - if she might be interested to take part and I was thrilled when she readily agreed, promising a collection in time for July. And since those first boxes arrived for our summer 2016 show - quickly followed by a re-stock following 'Bottle Mania' - the Byre Gallery has never been without a piece of Lucy’s ceramics.

Not only is working with Lucy always a delight, but so is not working with her. During the first lockdown as we all wondered when life and work might return to normal, Lucy and I entertained each other by email, sharing the highs, the lows and the minutiae of daily life.  We've since joked that our Covid tales would make a highly entertaining book and should be published - but I would have to insist that names would have to be changed, to protect the innocent! 

When we did get back to work Lucy was as ever wonderfully open to any suggestions I might throw at her, be it colour palette or a new form or collection: “how do you feel about big vases/small bowls/variable bottle heights Lucy?” Nothing is a problem. And when it comes to curating and styling my exhibitions I’d be lost without her work - there is always an ideal Lucy Burley piece to complete any ‘look’.

It goes without saying that I’m a bit of a collector of her work myself: bottles, bowls (including one in need of repair after it was ‘admired’ by Apprentice Gallery Dog Sidney) jugs and vases are all very evident in my house, and there is always room for another one!

I’m delighted that Lucy continues to enjoy being part of the Byre Gallery family of artists and makers, and I blush at her fulsome praise as she kindly sent me this paragraph: 

"In the spring of 2016 I was delighted to be asked by expert curator and all-round good egg Elaine to take part in her exhibition “Out of The Picture”-  my first experience of her poetic and enticing titles, and the beginning of a very happy relationship; Elaine has exquisite taste and a magical touch at creating gorgeous and covetable displays – I feel immensely proud to have my work displayed alongside beautiful paintings, glass, jewellery, ceramics and textiles in perfect harmony with each other.  Elaine nurtures her artists like no-one else, and it’s a joy and a privilege to be one of her “Byre” regulars."

You can enjoy the new collection of Lucy's bottles online now and in the gallery when we re-open for Easter… that is if there are any left after another session of ‘Bottle Mania.’ 

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