I recently came across this wonderful woman, Beatrice Wood. Ceramic artist, bohemian, rebel of her time. Sometimes known as the Mama of Dada.
Born in San Francisco into a wealthy socialite family in 1893, she rebelled, first becoming an actress and then finding her way to Paris, where she was part of the Avant Garde movement. Her lovers and best friends were artist Marcel Duchamp and writer Henri Pierre Roche. Together they started The Blind Man magazine. It’s said that Roche’s Jules et Jim was inspired by this special friendship triangle. She also spent her time with Man Ray, Picabia and Walter and Louise Arensberg, whose house was the centre of many incredible artistic gatherings over the years.
It wasn’t until 1930 that Beatrice took up pottery, which was to become her big success. She finally moved to Ojai, California in 1948, where she discovered her own special lustre glaze technique.
She said that she loved seven men that she didn’t marry and married two men that she didn’t love. Neither marriage was consummated
In 1985 she wrote her autobiography ‘I shock myself’. It’s a lovely read, documenting all her fascinating and sometimes very challenging adventures.
You can see more about her on this short video here
Beatrice was a remarkable woman who made her own rules up along the way. She said that her most productive years were between the ages of 80 and 105 and that what kept her going was art books, chocolate and young men. She wore sari’s every day in her later years. She was working every day until she was 103.