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Betty Woodman (1930-2018)

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A tribute to Betty Woodman, "Thinking Out Loud"


A queen among makers, Betty Woodman (1930-2018) forged a new aesthetic that celebrated color, pattern, and gesture all wrapped up in pieces that rode the line between flat and volumetric, functional and not, domestic and public. She took her tiny stature and threw vessels like it was nobody’s business in her famously patterned socks and apron. This brand of feminist virtuosity made Betty an inspiration to generations of makers, especially women who saw in her a powerful fearlessness that did not deny the warmth of her heart and a love of life. Celebrated for her massive art installations, Betty was also a potter’s potter, one who delighted in the lusciousness of clay and loved history for its own sake. She drew from Mediterranean and European traditions, rather than the standard Chinese and Japan sources that most other potters were looking at at the time. Her ideas of function were broad and generous. We have her to thank for clay being so hot in the art world today, for she was one of primary forces in having ceramics legitimized as a equally valued medium. She and her husband, George, split her time between a home outside Florence, Italy and New York City. After her daughter, Francesca, died at age 22 she continued to champion Francesca’s work as an avant-garde photographer. In 2006, the Met put on a retrospective of her work, the first living woman artist and the first ceramic artist to be honored in that way. This clip of Betty making one of her pillow pitchers is taken from her son, Charles’, 1991 video titled “Thinking Out Loud” https://vimeo.com/209317503.

This video is sped up slightly. Betty died yesterday of pneumonia in Italy. Rest in peace Betty. -@ayumihorie #bettywoodman #pottersinaction#potsinaction #potterspotter #ceramics #pottery #craft




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2 videos. I couldn't help myself. She was so upbeat!


This article includes some fantastic images of her work





I love this you tube <She was so articulate



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“We had breakfast, the kids went to school, I went into my studio,” she said. “Ceramics is time-based work. When a piece [is] the right thickness you put the handle on, turn on the kiln, walk out of the studio, put the stew in the oven, give it a stir. It’s a personal taste, but it’s how I like to work.”

...love it.

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