By Helen Donaldson
The Shoreliner Magazine, August 1950
Mrs. Carl [Gertrude] Lougee didn't think she could "draw the side of a barn" . . . until she tried. Now an accomplished artist, she is currently concentrating her talents on pottery making. Here, she is painting a piece of "greenware" which will be fired at a temperature of about 1700 degrees F. After a cooling period, the piece is glazed and fired again. The tall mug on her work bench is an excellent reproduction of old blue willow ware. [Photos by Colt]
Most modern women would be quite pleased with themselves if they were able to master one artistic avocation. Not so Mrs. Carl Lougee, who turns out professional products in a half dozen different crafts. The mother of two children, Becky Ann and Barry, she is a petite blonde woman with a charming personality and a delightful, contagious laugh. The Lougee's lovely colonial home is on Exeter road just beyond the center of Hampton.
Although Mr. and Mrs. Lougee are native New Englanders, they have lived most of their married life in Evanston, Illinois. It was not until they returned to New England a few years ago that Mrs. Lougee became interested in stencilling and from that branched out into her other achievements, painting in oils and water colors, and later ceramics.
Like so many people, Mrs. Lougee lacked confidence in her artistic ability and in her own words "knew I couldn't draw the side of a barn." Nevertheless, she enthusiastically plunged into stencilling under the direction of Kenneth Jewett in a Jady Hill (Exeter) course and before long was doing professional work. Her originality and fine workmanship are very much in evidence throughout her home in chairs, tables, and trays. rA most original idea are the curtains in the powder room which are stencilled in the same rose design as the wallpaper.
Mrs. Lougee's latent interest in landscape painting flared again through an adult education class at Phillips Exeter Academy under the direction of Mr. Mera. A group of Hampton people took the course and became so interested they have formed an art circle, meeting frequently to paint together. A most practical use of this talent is the wallpaper in the downstairs and upstairs halls. When the colors began to fade Mrs. Lougee went over the entire area with water colors, reproducting the design in exquisite detail.
The making of pottery is the newest and, at present, prime hobby in this clever woman's life. Last November, Mrs. Lougee had her first lesson in a Newburyport studio. She spent so much time commuting that her husband, in self defense, fixed her a studio in the basement of their home and installed an electric kiln, which can be seen at the right in the picture.
On the lower shelves in the picture are "green" pieces. These have been made for the most part, in molds — by filling a mold with slip (liquid clay), leaving it until the proper amount has adhered to the sides of the mold and then pouring off the excess. These pieces, when they are thoroughly dry, will be decorated with underglaze, which is clay chemically treated to form a color when exposed to extreme heat. Now, the piece is ready for the first firing. after which it will be in the bisque or biscuit stage — which stage might be compared to an ordinary building brick. At this point the piece is covered with glaze, a chemical which, at a very high temperature will become liquid and instantly harden to form a glassy crust over the entire surface. Glazes cannot be mixed up by the amateur, but Mrs. Lougee has had some interesting results by permitting one glaze to run over another. The tall glass and the champagne glass on her work bench are examples of this. They are a delicate pink on the inside and a soft gray outside and the colors have been allowed to run into each other around the upper parts of the pieces.
As is often the case with very busy people, Mrs. Lougee, finds time to share her talents, and last year taught stencilling to a group of youngsters at Hampton Congregational church, where she is an active member. Two years ago she taught an adult group in North Hampton.
Besides these major accomplishments, Mrs. Lougee is putting the last stitches into a four by seven hooked rug. She is a clever seamstress but has gradually stopped sewing in favor of these more exciting hobbies.
The Lougees divide their time during the summer between their Hampton home and their camp at Lake Wentworth. Becky Ann is fourteen and will enter Hampton Academy in the fall as a freshman. Barry, sixteen, is a senior at Governor Dummer Academy. Byfield, Massachusetts.
Mr. Lougee mostly basks in the aura of his wife's talents though he is fond of gardening and last Christmas his wife's suggestive gift to him was a handsome power saw![See also, Obituary of Gertrude N. Lougee,
and Obituary of Carl M. Lougee]