Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mom and Beatrice Wood Dada Ceramic Pottery Artist

Back when my folks moved out here to California from the East, and before they had us kids, they knew a couple in Ojai CA and went out there to visit.

It was also where Dada artist Beatrice Wood had her studio.

Now Mom loved pottery and artist-made things, and she and Dad went to visit Beatrice at her studio.

Mom said she used to go around wearing an Indian sari and was doing so that day.

I believe Beatrice was just another local artist back then.

Mom fell in love with these two seahorses and bought them:

That’s the only photo of them in our living room I have, taken back in 1959 according to the date on the side of the photo.

Mom said Beatrice wrapped it up carefully, but kind of quickly. Sort of hustled it into the wrapping and box she gave Mom to carry it in.

Anyways, My folks took her to lunch to be kind and talk to her a bit (she was still a struggling, unknown artist at the time) and all was well until Mom got home and unpacked the seahorses.

One of the seahorses had two tips of its spines broken off.

Mom was extra careful to unwrap them, and double-checked all the wrapping carefully. But lo! Beatrice Woods had sold Mom a broken set of seahorses! She remembered how Beatrice had turned away to pack them, and did so quickly. There could be no other explanation. Mom was sure of it.

But, she still loved them, regardless.

Unfortunately, very unfortunately, they were both broken a couple years after she bought them. Too bad, because it is probably the only “famous” thing we owned.

Ah well.


  1. so very cool...ah, such a shame about the seahorses..but, beauty is are not museums. But you have the dress your grandmother wore as a young girl and textile preservation is a real art..I have my grandmother's apron--now to somehow pass the understanding of its worth as a family treasure to my children might take some doing. ps: how odd that Beatrice would do something like that--I suppose her struggles outweighed her conscience, but still....

  2. If I still had the seahorses, I would probably sell them and pass them on to someone else since they were done by a noted artist.

    Mom was not prone to embellish or bend the truth at all, so I know she told me the experience exactly as it happened, but thought it interesting to pass on.

    I am sure Mom wrote about it in the story of her life she wrote before her passing. When I find that section in her book, I will repost it.

    Thought it interesting to pass on such a detail from a "famous" artist.

  3. Sadly, just because someone has an artistic bent doesn't mean they don't also have a "creep" side. After your parents were so kind to take her to lunch, maybe she felt bad about selling them broken merchandise and never did something like that again. I love that statement: beauty is temporal. So true.