by Levin Brenner, Features contributer
From harvesting clay from the beaches on the Cape to writing her own songs on the guitar, junior Lucia Baring-Gould is as artistic as it gets.
Molly Baring-Gould, ceramics teacher at South and Lucia’s mom, said that Lucia has always taken an interest in the world around her.
“She will say yes to everything and loves to explore the world and everything it holds,” she said.
Lucia’s eagerness to explore has cultivated her drive for creation. Since the age of eight, she has been surrounded by clay; she said that her parents, both high school ceramic teachers, have guided her to become the artist she is today.
“Growing up I always had four or five wheels in the basement, and… I really learned all the basic techniques and tricks at my house when I was super young. I remember my parents would come down to the basement and throw together. They would center for me and they would help me make bowls, mugs, or really whatever I wanted,” she said. “Learning at home gave me the basis that I really appreciated having going into high school.”
Ms. Baring-Gould said that while many artists tend to hyper-focus on the outcome, Lucia finds joy in the process.
“She doesn’t keep a lot of her art just because she enjoys making it more, and I think that really embodies who she is,” she said.
Senior Donna Shirasb, Lucia’s friend of two years, said that Lucia is not afraid to make mistakes and that her process-focused mindset plays a significant role in helping her succeed as an artist.
“I’ve never seen Lucia make a big vessel or bowl and not smash it the first couple times, at least,” she said.
Since her freshman year, Lucia has impressed everyone around her with her throwing skills. Shirasb said that although Lucia may not be willing to admit it yet, her years of practice have rendered her ceramics craft near perfection.
“Everybody around her is immediately dialed into her throwing, but she doesn’t see how talented and special she is,” she said.
In tandem with her ceramic talent, Lucia enjoys baking as a pastime.
As a child, she spent Tuesday afternoons baking with her aunt and spent holidays cooking family dinners. This past year, Lucia has been working at Lakon Paris, a French patisserie in Newton Highlands. She said that the work fulfills her passion for creation.
“[Being] a pastry chef at Lakon is a really great opportunity,” she said. “I get to bring to life and create the things I have in my mind or I see online.”
However, working at Lakon has not always been easy, Lucia said. Exhausting weekends had her burnt out working from six in the morning to four in the afternoon at the end of her sophomore year, amid her piling schoolwork.
“I tried to schedule my day in a way that benefits my mental health, but it was really hard. At the end of the year it got really bad because I was so exhausted, every week felt the exact same,” she said.
“I would go to bed, wake up, work the same shift and try to fit my homework in somewhere, and because of this, my schoolwork would spill over into the following days, leaving me in this constant feeling of being behind.”
Although the challenges proved tough, Lucia said she appreciated the experience for what it taught her.
“Honestly all [someone] can do is learn from [their] experiences and understand what does and doesn’t work for [them],” she said. “I think back to how accomplished I felt telling people how much I was able to handle at once. Yes, it was hard, but I wouldn’t trade it if I could… I was doing what I love which was enough.”
Ms. Baring-Gould said that Lucia’s ability to manage all that she does is a result of her drive to give everything her best effort.
“Lucia is so determined and so competitive,” she said. “She’s always been this fierce, independent, creative, full-of-energy-and-fire kind of person, and she will push herself to be the best in whatever she is doing.”
Shirasb said that Lucia’s drive extends to an unwavering persistence to help and care for those around her.
“I wish more people knew just how big her heart is and how understanding she is,” she said. “Lucia was one of few people I have found a genuine friendship with, without any limits. Her mom always jokes about how we are the same person, which I love because I admire her so much.”
Henry Knight, Lucia’s co-worker at Lakon and recent South graduate, said that she has an outgoing and thoughtful spirit.
“She’s naturally positive and supportive,” he said. “She goes out of her way to help or cheer people up around her.”
Although Lucia’s love for creation has remained prevalent for most of her life, her twin brother and junior Caleb Baring-Gould said that she has continued to grow nonetheless.
“She’s evolved a lot,” he said. “Sometimes people who knew her years ago still think she is the same person, but you have to get to really know her now to see how much she has changed.”
Whether it’s a lifelong friend or someone she has just met, Lucia is always welcoming. Ms. Baring-Gould said that Lucia exudes genuine kindness, making her someone easy to talk to and be around.
“Because she is so many kinds of people rolled into one, she’s comfortable with all types of people,” she said. “She can be very old and very young at the same time, but her inner youthful spirit will stay with her forever.”