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Women's History Month Spotlight: Beatrice Wood

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

The month of March is International Women's Month! I'd love to share some women artists that I find inspiring.... First off is Beatrice Wood! I became aware of her only relatively recently, and I'm shocked that I never learned about her in all my ceramics or art history training!

She came of age in New York and France in the 1910s and 20s; dabbled in painting, theater, living unmarried with men, Dadaism, and other interests that scandalized her high class family. She became friends and lovers with several Dada artists, including Marcel Duchamp, and was known as the "mama of Dada," but eventually had her heart broken enough times, and moved out to Ojai, California in 1933.

Inspired to DIY make a teapot to match a set of stunning set of luster dessert plates, she was introduced to ceramics, and it became her passion for the rest of her life. “I never meant to become a potter,” Beatrice later offered. “It happened very accidentally… I could sell pottery because when I ran away from home I was without any money. And so I became a potter.” (Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts). She created whimsical vessels with striking luster glazes that she formulated herself, as well as "unschooled" figurative sculptures - investing both the traditional pottery narrative, and the investigative exercises of Dadaism.

"Do be true to yourself, whether it's bad doesn't matter. The important thing - you have to copy while you're studying. And culture is - each of us - is like one pearl added to another to make a chain. We each contribute to the other. And that's all right. But once you're on your own, do that which comes from within. And I feel this very strongly." (BWCA)

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