My grandmother was hired out to sew for people when she was 10 years old. She sewed until she couldn’t see so well and then she crocheted. One of my favorite things to do was to perch at the end of her big green sofa and watch her sew. I could do this for hours. I think Susan and I learned our sewing skills by watching her so much.
I loved her button can. In it’s previous life it held candy or biscuits. I loved to get out the buttons and line them up and look at them. I would tell my grandmother which ones I liked and wanted on a dress. Funny choosing the buttons first and then the fabric and pattern. There were only two of my favorites and they were connected together with a thread. They were a clear acrylic type button and they were my favorites because of the peach colored dried flowers inside. I think my grandmother had purchased these before I was born. I never remember a day when they weren’t in the button can. Then one day they were on my dress. The dress was quite plain, a dark brown rough fabric with short sleeves and a collar. The part I liked best was the belt that was anchored on each side by my two favorite buttons.
Today my neighbor and I had made plans to go to the Nezu Museum but when we arrived it was closed for the installation of a new exhibit. She suggested that we go to the National Art Center Tokyo. We chose the special pottery exhibit by Lucy Rie. It’s interesting that I had never heard of her before because she lived and worked in London for a big part of her life and many of her pieces are owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Lucie Rie was born in 1902 in Vienna, where she studied from 1922 to 1926. In 1938 she moved to London, where she lived from 1939 in Albion Mews. After the war she opened a pottery and button-making workshop. The button business was how she made her money to stay alive and continue making her pottery. She lived in the same mews house until she died at age 93. As part of the exhibit of over 250 pieces they were showing a 1982 BBC produced interview with her. She was still making beautiful pottery when she was 80.
Lucy Rie is a person I wouldhave loved to know. She created two of my favorite things, buttons and bowls.