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The Art of Staying Home: Haus of Lucy

Galleries across the world have shut their doors as Covid-19 takes a grip and people are now to remain indoors and avoid unnecessary human contact. This is having a huge impact on the way artists are living and working. We have asked the ACE Club artists how they are coping with the current situation. Here is the first in a series of interviews, with Lucy Bryant, the artist behind the eclectic and incredibly fun 'Haus of Lucy'.

Stockpiling with Mother by Haus of Lucy
Stockpiling with Mother by Haus of Lucy

What have you been doing during the lockdown? 

Trying to keep sane! Creating art and watching far too much daytime TV in the process, snacking on the hour every hour and finding new things to watch in the evenings.

Talk us through a typical day.

I started working from home six months ago, so the current situation hasn’t had a huge impact on the structure of my day (just my mental health). I’m self-isolating with my husband Jason who also works from home so luckily, we’ve had a chance to get used to being around each other 24/7. As my work tends to be small scale, I’m currently able to work from the dining room table (my garden studio is too cold) so a typical day sees me wake up at 6.15 and read for an hour in bed with tea, then get up and go for an 8k run.

After breakfast (sunflower rye bread & coffee) and a shower, I make it a priority to put on a proper ‘work day’ outfit and make-up so I feel ready to start my day (despite the fact I wear a dressing gown over the top of my clothes). If I stayed in pyjamas, I think I’d start to feel depressed pretty quickly. I sit down with GMB on TV and start work whilst shouting at Piers Morgan! I’ve had a lot of orders for these ‘panic buying’ figurines I’ve been making, so now I am concentrating on them. I spend my mornings making tiny loo rolls and cans of beans! To my shame, I keep daytime TV on for most of the day as it keeps me company and I’ve become very fond of Holly & Phil!

Haus of Lucy Self Isolation and Selfish Sadie
Working From Home (left) and Selfish Sadie (right) by Haus of Lucy

I break off for lunch around 1 (huge salad, tofu, beans) then continue for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I package up orders and try to do some general admin. Shipping my pieces is a huge challenge. I recently had two disasters where both pieces were completely destroyed in the post, so I am trying to find new ways to ship. If a customer lives locally, I’ve always been able to hand-deliver, but this current situation has had a massive impact on that.

We’re trying to keep shopping to a minimum so either myself or my husband will pop out for something if we need it.

The evenings are now spent working our way through Netflix but we have a couple of nights where we do our own thing so I can watch what crap I want and we don’t end up killing each other. Space is important.

Miss Selfish by Haus of Lucy
Miss Selfish by Haus of Lucy

This weekend has been more of a challenge for me than weekdays as I really like to get out of the house. I’m a massive walker; before CV I was racking up an average of 23000 steps a day, so I feel very caged in. I’ve ended up treating this weekend like weekdays, and still getting on with projects although I have given myself a break too to watch some classic films (Truman Show). And a bottle of wine.

I would most definitely be struggling if I didn’t have art to focus on. I have found the ideas flowing and a real drive to want to create work around the subject of our situation, from panic buying and self-isolating figurines to a plate featuring a masked lady, and I have put out a print with £10 from each sale going to a charity who provide NHS workers with personal hygiene products.

Haus of Lucy Masked Lady and Working From Home
Masked Lady Plate (left) and Working From Home (right) by Haus of Lucy

What would you say your style is at home and does it reflect through into your work?

We rent, so our how we style our home has some limitations, but I really like an eclectic look, lots of quirky objects and of course, my figurines adorn most of the shelves. We’ve got Shepard Fairey’s Demagogue, a Miss Bugs lolly, an Ian Berry denim original and a Dirty Hans, but the rest are my work or reproductions. If I could afford Hockney’s original painting of Mr & Mrs Clarke & Percy, I’d buy it tomorrow. Our walls are white, so colour comes from furnishings, art and books.

Have you adjusted or re-arranged your space as a result of lockdown, and if so, what did you do?

I haven’t had to readjust at all, I’ve been really lucky. I was already working from the dining room table and still am!

My stepdaughter is 14 and is self-sufficient and doesn’t need entertaining (she’s been given tons of work by her school) so again, I appreciate we have it a lot easier than some.

What’s your favourite piece of art in your home?

It has to be my print of David Hockney’s Mr & Mrs Clark and Percy. A friend of my mum’s had a print in her house and when I was growing up I just used to stare at it. I love everything about it, the sense of light and space, the shaggy rug, Celia Birtwell’s Ossie Clark dress and the rather awkwardly placed Percy (the cat). I would love to be able to walk into the painting and out onto their balcony. I also love my Ian Berry piece; in 2018 he created a record shop in SoHo made entirely out of denim and I have the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album sleeve - entirely in denim - from that installation. It’s amazing.

We heard a rumour that you have been stashing loo roll inside those 70’s style toilet roll dolls. Is this true?

Yes, see pic attached

Loo Roll Lady by Haus of Lucy

What’s your perfect Sunday?

Early run to get it out of the way then breakfast and coffee and the rest of the day spent at a car boot fair or in out of town antique shops sourcing ceramic figurines. I love markets too, so often go to Brick Lane to mooch around Spitalfields and the upmarket. There’s usually some cake involved at some point. I miss Sundays!

For more information check out:

Haus of Lucy's Store on ACE Club here

'Welcome to The Haus of Lucy' article here

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