I am publishing this post from May 2016 for Throw Back Thursday because so many of us find a second calling later in life. Rather than slowing down, Beatrice Wood's productivity increased in her later years. This post is one of a series of three titled "This is not a Biography".
"My life is full of mistakes. They're like pebbles that make a good road."
This is the second in a series, "not a biography" started a few weeks ago. You might remember that the first artist I featured was Frida Kahlo. (Frida Kahlo: this is not a biography)
Beatrice Wood - creative all her life
Beatrice Wood (1893-1998), is an American ceramicist and sculptor who lived to 105 years old.
As shown in my portrait of her, she was an elegant woman who loved big, bold jewelry and later in life, very colourful saris. A bit of a bohemian, Wood probably disappointed her aristocratic, socialite mother by (among other things) wanting to be an artist after her parents had sent her to finishing school.
Wood was a very headstrong young woman who disliked being chaperoned while she studied painting in France. Eventually, her mother sent her to study theatre and Wood appeared on stage in Paris with Sarah Bernhardt.
Her life continued to be very unconventional for the times. She fell in and out of love with several men, living with them and marrying one man to try and escape her mother's clutches.
But I chose her for this post because she is proof that we need not give up on creativity later in life, in fact, quite the opposite.
Wood's last twenty-five years were her most productive years. She stopped working at 104.
Her work is found at the Beatrice Wood Centre for the Arts in Ojai, California.
But this is not a biography. I have highlighted my favourite quotation.
Beatrice Wood's thoughts on being an artist and a woman.
"Over and over, I'm on the point of giving it up."
"I never meant to become a potter. 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."
"First of all, I'd like to say here the fact that I'm not naturally a craftsman has made me work very hard."
"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."
"Those who are afraid to love deeply miss out on one of the rewards of existence."
"And then, of course, most potters, they go in for earth tones and subdued things, and I like color."
"You know, God, the power that makes life, whatever it is, had just to make two things, masculine and feminine, for all this mischief. And made them so there is this entirely different point of view about love and sex."