Loretta Houghton sits in the spare bedroom come studio in her home in the Grampians in Western Victoria when we chat over the phone, but it was while she was living on the Victorian Surf Coast that she first discovered pottery and the idea of Hey Lenny was born. A business of thoughtfully made ceramics to enhance everyday moments, so you can enjoy the good things in life.
With a background in interior design and styling there was always a strong creative interest for Loretta but it was industry setbacks from Covid that launched her into pursuing Hey Lenny as a full-time business venture. She’d had a taste off pottery through local classes and short courses in Torquay and had slowly been building up her experience. It was the move to the Surf Coast that ignited her creativity, discovering that in her new environment she was surrounded by creative inspiration, it fed into her love of the outdoors and the desire to slow down and enjoy the smaller moments in life. In her words, “ceramics is a vessel for that lifestyle, sitting down to enjoy your favourite cup of tea in your favourite mug or sharing a meal with friends in a beautiful ceramic bowl, it is the ritual and sharing moments of joy”.
Loretta lives this mantra in her everyday life having found the perfect intersect of work and life through pottery, she can’t define where one ends and the other starts and she loves that she can call that work. It is a freedom that is so much more fulfilling than she has ever experienced creatively and personally.
As Loretta talks about the journey the business has taken so far, the gratitude oozes out of her. She’s grateful for the opportunity to be doing something she loves everyday as a job, amazed that people want to buy and use her beautiful handcrafted ceramics, and pinching herself that dream stores have approached her to stock Hey Lenny. Pottery is such a “tactile thing”, the process amazes Loretta herself, “I love that I have made something with my hands, it’s functional and now someone can drink from it or eat from it”. She loves how messy it is, that even if she creates something that doesn’t work out the way she wanted she can recycle the clay and start again.
Even though she admits she struggles with imposter syndrome, it’s hard to see why. She has managed in three short years to transition from a pottery hobbyist to a full-time ceramics business owned and operated from her home studio. She managed to get her hands on a $50 pottery wheel from a community house, has installed a kiln, and can now complete the whole creative process from the comfort of her home. The home studio is in a “beautiful spot, overlooking the garden” in a “close-knit, small community with lots of creative people” all providing unique sources of creative inspiration.
It is with such love and care that Loretta has built Hey Lenny which is why there is so much anticipation around how the business will grow. Loretta hopes that the home studio will allow for greater freedom to streamline product collections and has some exciting new stores joining a growing list of stockists and one day she hopes the Hey Lenny business will grow again into something bigger than just her – perhaps building a community, pottery classes, and even a retail space. It will be hard to look away, the future is so bright for Hey Lenny.