Stumbled upon info about a potter I had never heard of before. No clue how I did not know about this woman, but now that I do… OH. MY. GOD. Her name is Beatrice Wood, and although she is no longer with us, Ms. Wood ROCKS!
Beatrice Wood (March 3, 1893 – March 12, 1998) was the daughter of wealthy socialites, and against her parents’ wishes, she pursued a life in the arts. She moved from California to Paris, to study painting and then theater. Several of her drawings and paintings were published in a magazine she helped start, and during World War I, she came to New York City and preformed with a French repertory company. She hobnobbed with many of the influential artists and writers of the early 20th century, and apparently was also quite a swinger in the relationship department.
When in her early 40s, Beatrice bought a set of plates, and wanted a matching teapot. When she couldn’t find one, she decided to make one herself. So, with no knowledge of pottery whatsoever, she took a local weekend class with that intention. Biographies I have read do not say if she ever actually made the teapot, but she was bitten by the bug, and proceeded create ceramics for the rest of her very long life (she died at 105!).
This fantastic woman not only learned a craft and started a brand new career well into her 40s, but she threw pots until she was 104 years old! She never lost her love of creating. Never lost the wonder and joy of it. She said she loved to peek in the kiln early in the morning before opening it; that the excitement of it was better than owning diamonds.
Beatrice Wood is inspiring in so many ways! Painter, actress, potter, teacher… She went after what she wanted, no matter what anyone else thought. Beatrice did not blindly follow the pack and stick to what tradition or society dictated. She loved what she did, and had a very distinguished career doing it. She taught others, and yet, she never stopped learning.
I hope to borrow a page out of her book – I think most of us could. To live and love with such exuberance, passion, and freedom is what truly gives richness and meaning to our existence.
Here is a fairly short YouTube video about Beatrice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxv8k6g3i-A
And here are some examples of her work: http://www.beatricewood.com/secondary_market/index.html
I hope you are as inspired as I am. Have a fantastic day! And if there is something you really want, go after it tenaciously à la Beatrice Wood!