It’s no surprise to learn that Pergay describes the moment when a new work pops into her head as magic. “They come from anywhere!” she says, referring to her ideas. “Like lighting a match, they appear in a burst, fully formed.” Somewhat famously, she siphons inspiration, almost inadvertently, from the world around her. The concept for Chaise Anneaux/Ring Chair (1968) arrived, impromptu, as she was peeling an orange. “I cannot live without this magic,” she explains. “That’s perhaps the reason I’ve continued all of these years. When an idea comes, I have to realize it.”
At one point, Pergay, with typical warmth and curiosity, asks about my first experience with her work. I explain my Rust Belt roots, visiting my father at his steel plant when I was young, and the shock of seeing Pergay’s delicate Lit Tapis Volant, magically wrought from steel, for the first time several years ago. “Was he polite to you?” she asks, laughing, likening the daybed to a male suitor. I told her that he was more than polite, even welcoming. “I’m pleased to hear that,” she responds. “I hope my Lit Volant begged you to come to it and go away together somewhere.” It turns out that Pergay doesn’t want to be the only one having conversations with her works. She hopes they’ll wield their magic with the rest of the world, too.