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Lucky Stradley                      

Always Lucky...Well, most of the time.
Oct 19, 2012 

While searching for artisans to feature for Halloween on this blog, I came across Lucky Stradley and her macabre artwork. Being part coffee-addict and part monster-enthusiast, I saw Lucky's mugs and knew she was a woman after my own heart. I knew then that I had to write a blog entry about this remarkably talented artisan and her array of monster wares. Ever since I discovered Lucky's artwork, I can't help but feel something's missing when I stare at the boring black coffee mug beside my desk.
My husband upon seeing one of her bowls remarked that he's not sure if he would be able to eat out of it. And come to think of it, my mom would likely say something similar...that she would find it too unnerving to drink from the mugs or eat from the bowls. And I understand why Lucky's wares may elicit such strong reactions. To put it simply, the faces on Lucky's mugs and bowls look so realistic and so alive that one cannot help but think they are. I personally wouldn't find any difficulty drinking from one of Lucky's mugs just like so many others who purchase her works. Her mugs are exquisite and bursting with detail that I am certain anyone who sees her work (monster-enthusiast or not) would agree that this woman is passionate about her craft. 
I had the opportunity to communicate with Lucky and found that she is colourful and full of life just like her artwork. She explained how her parents came to name her Lucky, "I was born in Columbus, GA on June 20th, 1952 the last of thirteen children. My mother jokingly wanted to name me Quits. My father offered Caboose. An election was held. I was named Lucky. Lucky Martha Brady Burnes to be exact."
Lucky Martha Brady Burnes began her art career when she was 21 years old shortly after she lost her first husband. She described a man saw a drawing that she was doing on a napkin at a Pizza Hut in Wichita, KS and he asked her if she would sell it for $15. Lucky replied, "Heck yeah! That was a lot of money in 1973 and I had a 2 year old son to raise".
Since that day in the pizza shop, Lucky has been commissioned to do work for the Canadian National Exhibition and has also been commissioned to create the stall decoration awards for the Canadian National Arabian Horse Championship Show. She has also received numerous awards for her work. Namely, a mural she painted in Hubbell won her an Arts and Humanity award. She received awards for 'Original One of a Kind' at various art shows for four years in a row, an award of excellence for two years in a row and the list goes on.  Perhaps, her greatest achievement of all is the vast following of fans, both artisans and non-artisans alike, who continually adore and purchase her work.
When I asked her about future plans, I learned that her artwork extends beyond mugs, plates, bowls, and other house-related wares.  Currently, she is sculpting the tile for a shower, and has also been commissioned to sculpt four keystones and eight end caps for an architectural building renovation. Her future plans also include starting a sculpted concrete hobbit village. Of course, Lucky is going to continue creating the many faces found on the bowls and mugs she currently sells on Facebook and art shows regardless of the new projects she intends to tackle (thank goodness!).
Despite not having enough time to do everything she wants to do, her love for her craft translates to all of her work, "I love mud.  I love making faces.  I love making faces in the mud.  Gosh, I am the happiest when I have mud all over my hands and my apron and a cute little ugly face is looking back at me from the mud". And when you take a look at her work, you will know exactly what I mean. Every single one has been painstakingly crafted to perfection. Not one pales in comparison to the other. 
I look forward to the day I will be able to stare at a cute ugly face as I drink my cup of coffee as opposed to this boring black mug from Costco. And I am certain every sip I take will serve as a constant reminder that I am lucky (yes, pun intended! :P) to have discovered such a wonderful unique artisan.

Lucky Stradley's Facebook Profile - photos found on this page courtesy of Lucky Stradley
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