Archives for posts with tag: Lucie Bray


I titled this exhibition ‘Home Museum’. I am not talking about a grand ‘art’, rather I am talking about something that has come from the rawness of hand and material, the survival of objects that went through extreme heat, and what that reveals about the making process and my everyday life. It is my 3D sketchbook.

This new collection is directly related to my recent booklist. I was a psychology student 20 odd years ago and I have been reading a lot about the human brain lately. ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’ by Norman Doidge triggered my interest and led me to other related books in psychology, sociology, biology, neuroscience and religion, written from the view of brain function. Surprisingly there are many books in this area that can be understood without specialist knowledge, and can be easily related to our daily lives.

I went to see some Impressionist paintings recently, described in the exhibition guide as ‘unfinished’ in comparison to conventional descriptive paintings, and therefore not taken as ‘proper’ painting at the beginning of this art movement. In the world of craft, it was not the creators of art work, but connoisseurs who found beauty in the unpolished, peasant craft work of Japan. These pieces were called ‘gete-mino’ (the translation from Japanese to English is ‘grotesque’ or ‘badly made things’) and were supposedly second class artifacts. Soetsu Yanagi, the founder of the Mingei movement, rebranded it as Mingei folk art, since the phrase ‘gete-mino’ had negative connotations.

Symmetrical perfection, regularity and preciseness are easy to understand, as the standard perception of beauty is based on physical strength. On the other hand, I wonder how and why some people (like myself perhaps) are attracted to the unrefined quality of objects, including some forms of art. These brain books I read might explain how we come to find beauty in ‘unpolished’ work.  Physicality is one kind of strength, but on the other hand, as demonstrated in the high speed sketching of a skilled artist, flexibility, adaptation and plasticity are also strengths. The spontaneous movement of making or drawing projects our unconscious or subconscious mind, whereas the process of polishing and adding more precise detail can actually disguise or delete some quality hidden deep within our mind. Akiko Hirai, May 2016

Akiko Hirai | Home Museum is on show at New Craftsman from 28 May to 2 July. Paintings and prints by Lieke Ritman and screenprints of the work of Lucie Bray accompany the show.

Image: Dry Kohiki Mug, Grey

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This weekend we open our early summer show ‘A Celebration of the Work of Lucie Bray (1974 – 2014)’ and will be welcoming the great and the good of the St Ives arts community to see her beautiful paintings and read the words of all those who have contributed written pieces to the exhibition. We are also pretty excited to be showing new work by Japanese ceramicist Akiko Hirai, who has been so well received at each of her previous exhibition here.

Champagne and conversation will flow as we celebrate both Lucie’s unique talent and the warmly inclusive art community of St Ives, which nurtured and recognised the importance of her work. Among the many things that makes this town so special are its sense of history, its vibrant art scene and the wonderfully diverse group of artists, and art advocates, which populate it. It’s a thrill to be part of St Ives, and never more so than on those Private View nights when everyone turns out to see the latest show.

‘A Celebration of the Work of Lucie Bray (1974 – 2014) with an exhibition of work by Akiko Hirai’ will be on show until 28th June.

You can also read more about Lucie in the feature article An Artist Of Merit in the June edition of Cornwall Life magazine.

Lucie Bray New Painting 6

Image: Untitled work by Lucie Bray

For more information go to

Journey Jar

This evening sees the opening of our much anticipated Easter exhibition, so we’re busy putting the final touches to our show as St Ives’ long awaited half term visitors grace Fore Street and the town gets back into its busy seasonal swing.

We’re incredibly proud to be showing the work of ceramicist Adam Buick, who has exhibited regularly at NC for the past four years and in 2013 was nominated for the prestigious Jerwood Makers Prize. And as if having this year’s most high profile British maker at NC wasn’t enough, Adam has created an exclusive collection for our show using Cornish materials including China Clay from Tresowen and Doble’s clay pit St.Agnes, granite dust from Castle-an-Dinas Quarry and metal ore from Porthtowan. We think Buick’s Korean inspired Moon Jars – whether two feet tall or small enough to fit in the palm of your hand – are among the most beautiful ceramics on the arts scene today.

Accompanying him is another of the UKs most celebrated craftsmen, whose talent with hot glass has made his London Glassblowing Studio one of the most influential glass studios in the world. Peter Layton’s distinctive, richly coloured works exude real passion and are dazzling here on show in the early spring sunshine. Layton’s spirited pieces are set against a new collection of works by well-loved St Ives artist Emma Jeffryes, whose paintings are filled with all the contrasting splash and serenity of life here on St Ives bay. All three of these outstanding artists will be at our Private View party tonight along with our many friends and clients, and we’ll be launching our 2014 season in style!

We’ve lots to look forward to this year, with forthcoming shows by painters Lucie Bray, Neil Davies and Matthew Lanyon, ceramicists Akiko Hirai, Chris Keenan and Matthew Chambers and craftsmen Guy Royle and Breon O’casey among others. And while we are on the subject of extraordinary talent – take a look at this video of the work of Rebecca McDonald, who thrilled us with the most spectacular exhibition here at NC in December. We dare you not to fall in love with her as much as we have!

Image /  Adam Buick, Moon Jar from the Cornish Series



We wish to open our 2014 blog with a tribute to outstanding St Ives painter Lucie Bray who, on 2nd January this year, tragically lost her life to the sea she loved to paint.

We had the very great pleasure of hosting Lucie’s first ever solo exhibition at The New Craftsman in 2008, and have held annual, highly acclaimed exhibitions of her work ever since.

Born and raised in our beautiful county, Lucie studied at the Falmouth School of Art and then Wimbledon School of Art, and became one of only a few dedicated, contemporary plein air painters in Cornwall. Her work tent was a regular feature on Porthmeor beach, where she captured the sweeping energy of sea and sky in vibrant, oil on board works.

Lucie’s talent brought her very great success, and in December 2012 she was given a studio at the prestigious Porthmeor Studios, where leading British artists Patrick Heron, Ben Nicholson, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Sir Terry Frost all worked before her. Because of this, we take comfort from the fact that her loss, at the age of only 39, cannot now remove her name from the roll call of influential St Ives artists.

We shall miss Lucie’s visits to The New Craftsman, and the thrill of her bringing new works to unwrap, consign and hang. We are proud to have worked with an artist who so greatly enriched the contemporary art scene of St Ives. Lucie was a lovely young woman. Her death is a very great loss to us and to St Ives, and her paintings a very great gift to the history of art in Cornwall.

Headland St Ives by Lucie Bray

Images / Top: Lucie at work in her Bivouac on Porthmeor Beach. Bottom: Headland St Ives, oil on board.