Wood came to pottery relatively late in life, after years in painting, theatre and various other creative media, but immediately felt connected to the process. She quickly became known for her experimentation and risk-taking in her glazes, leading to some incredible colors and lusters and textures.
Since discovering her story maybe a decade ago, I've wanted to visit her estate, now a museum and studio in Ojai. In 2018 I held my breath as the area was threatened by wildfires, but in 2019 I was finally able to visit. Seeing her home and her studio was surreal. I stood next to her tools, read notes she'd left, saw unglazed pots still on shelves. I saw her kilns and her library, and the beautiful view of the valley that she must have admired every day with her coffee and cats.
Before I left I purchased one of her test tiles (a bit of pottery used to sample a glaze before it gets applied to a finished piece). It was the only thing I could really afford to take home, but that little tile, seen in the bottom left of the photo, became the inspiration for this cheerful, beautiful, chartreuse glaze we call Ojai.
Want to learn more about Beatrice Wood? Here are a few links to follow: