Monthly Archives: February 2015

Sculptural Couture




Classic Christian Dior – 1947


Convergence of fashion and sculpture 

Most famous fashion designers interact with art and reflect trends through their designs. The modernist curved art forms and abstract lines of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s could be clearly recognized in the avant-garde and Space Age designs of Pierre Cardin, as witnessed in his trapeze coats, bubble dresses, hat-sculptures and asymmetrical collars. Designers of this era adapted minimalist art forms with sleek, definitive lines to express striking chic styles which were aptly supported by the refined aesthetic of the models and photographers at that time. Elegant fluid silhouettes were prevalent, supported by higher heels, long gloves, hats with sweeping curved brims and form clinging waists. Cardin collaborated with the design of Christian Dior’s “New Look,” a style intended to enhance the feminine in women’s clothing, particularly after women had adopted traditional masculine roles during World War II. When Christian Dior unveiled his début haute couture collection in Paris on 12 February 1947, it heralded the demise of the austere, masculine styles, and ushered in a triumphant return to femininity.

Cardin, who had studied architecture, also used bold geometric shapes and motifs in his designs that sometimes overshadowed the female form. However, despite the form not being as overtly expressed, it had the effect of enhancing the feminine mystique. He was the first to display a designer’s logo on his garments in the 60‘s and he expanded his repertoire into new design markets such as home decor which was regarded as heresy by some other Paris fashion designers. He acquired a contemporary bubble home in Côte d’Azur, to reflect his fashion designs.
Christian Dior ran an art gallery where he sold the works of Picasso and other famous artists, before he began fashion in 1937 with his mentor Robert Piguet. He valued this association for learning “ the values of simplicity through which true elegance must come.” He later mixed with artists like Dali, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, Picasso, Otto Dix, Albert Giacometti, Raoul Duffy , Joan Miro, Jean Cocteau and designer Rene Gruau who all were an influence on his styles. Similarly, designers like Balenciaga, Jacques Fath, Givenchy and Lanvin all went in a similar direction with their chic style.
The modernist, contemporary forms continued to inspire fashion into the 60‘s and 70’s where it became more minimalist, while the photography became more free, spontaneous and less formal. The images here reflect that association between art and fashion during that unique era of timeless elegance and some current designers like Philip Treacy and Serge Lutens, who also integrate modernist elements into their fashion with other original contemporary statements. An exploration of texture, line and form presented in fabrics, threads and design brilliance.



Model wearing a Bar-Suit-(1947)-–-Christian-Diorphoto art/photography/black-white-photography/patrick-demarchelier-

The 1947 “New Look” Bar Suit – Christian Dior

Photo – Patrick Demarchelier

Staley.Wise Gallery





 Jacques Fath outfit – Vogue 1951 Vintage elegance

Photographer Willy Maywald,



Helmut Newton photograph

Photo Helmut Newton




60s,-lanvin futuristic fashion

Lanvin 60’s Space Age outfit




1952.-Photo-Richard-Rutledge Jaques Fath design

 Jacques Fath design 1952, model Bettina

Photo- Richard Rutledge




Albouy designed hat – inspired by the Spanish Civil Guard

Photo – Georges Saad – 1952



1956 dovima_is_devine_II on Flickr

1956 sleek silhouette

dovima is devine II on Flickr




Pierre Balmain – 1957



Photo Philippe Pottier 1957 Manguin outfit

Manguin wool suit

Photo Philippe Pottier 1957




Scarlet starfish spikes—Yegor Zaitsev – Autumn/Winter





Ava-Gardner 50's

Ava Gardner – 1954





Fiona Campbell Walter in an outfit by Jacques Fath

Paris Vogue  1952



Ralph Lauren black and white striped hat

 Ralph Lauren, 2008

Photo Nathan Copan



Balenciaga-in-Harper's-Bazaar,-March-1968 minimalist outfits

Balenciaga – Harper’s Bazaar





 Model Bettina Graziani wearing Jacques Fath dress

50’s Paris Joan Miro Show – photo Georges Dambier


 Jacques Fath Paris

Jacques Fath outfit


Cappello-Hoeden-Speciaalzaak modernist hat

Cappello Hoeden Speciaalzaak


China Machado, Harper's Bazaar February 1959

Model China Machado, Harper’s Bazaar February 1959

 Photo Richard Avedon



Pink oriental outfit Christian Dior - Couture Spring 2007

Christian Dior – Couture Spring 2007




Lizica Codreanu modelling futuristic fashion design by Constantin Brancusi





 Pierre Balmain, 1961




Pierre Cardin 1968 'Mod' look

Pierre Cardin – 1968




L’Officiel magazine, 1956




Serge Lutens




Gabriela Ligenza 3D printed hat

Photo – Josh Shinner



Harpers Bazaar-1964-photo-Jeanloup Sieff

 Maggie Eckhardt – Harpers Bazaar-1964

Photo – Jeanloup Sieff



Christian Dior, Haute Couture 2008, photo by Patrick Demarchelier

Christian Dior,  2008,

Photo by Patrick Demarchelier





Harper’s Bazaar – 1964

Photo-Jeanloup Sieff




 NY milliner and street photographer Bill Cunningham

“The hat thing was really, as I say, it was like sculpture,” he said. “It’s the most wonderful, freeing, relaxing experience. I had a lot of fun, even if I didn’t make money. But I did pay my bills.”



Hats From Russia Fashion Week-Fall-2013-PicturesGetty

Hat From Russian Fashion Week – 2013

Getty Images



Horst P Horst,-1943

Horst P Horst – 1949




Model Jacky Mazel wearing a tweed-suit–by Lanvin Castillo,1956

Photo – Philippe Pottier




Model Jean-Patchett-photographed-by-Irving-Penn,-New-York-1949

Jean Patchett photographed by Irving Penn

New York-1949




Katherine Pastrie in wool dress by Pierre Cardin

photo by Philippe Pottier–1962



Lily-Dache large curvy black hat

 Lilly Dache hat

In 1939 Westingtonhouse created one of the first time capsules for the New York World Fair which had a futuristic theme.. Included was a woman’s hat designed by Lilly Dache. The capsule is meant to be unearthed in the year 6939.



miadelarue-blogspot-com 50's chic

50’s chic




Capucci outfit

Photo by Georges Saad –1961



Natalia Vodianova by Steven Meisel

Retro shoot – Natalia Vodianova by Steven Meisel for Vogue US  2009.



Paper Couture by Alexandra Zaharova & Ilya Plotnikov

Paper Couture by Alexandra Zaharova & Ilya Plotnikov



Paquin polka dot outfit L'Officiel magazine 1956.

Paquin outfit – L’Officiel magazine  1956.



Philip-Treacy hat

Philip Treacy hat




1954 Christian Dior from the book Dior Couture by Patrick Demarchelier



Pierre Cardin - 1959 - Shelt dress

Pierre Cardin – 1959




Philip_Treacy salmon pink flamboyant hat

 Philip Treacy – Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2001/2002 collections shows  in Paris France.





Pierre Cardin 60’s





Serge-Lutens photograph 1980's

Serge Lutens




 Model Georgina Grenville in a Thierry Mugler mask hat





Model in tweed suit with matching tweed hat by Pierre Balmain photo by Georges Saad






Hat by Irish Milliner Philip Treacy



1970's--Issey-Miyake dress

Issey Miyake



Philip Treacy hat

Philip treacy



Dorian Leigh- in a dress by Jacques Fath--photographed by Georges Dambier-for--Nouveau-Femina----March--1954-o

Dorian Leigh- dressed in a Jacques Fath outfit

Photographed by Georges Dambier for Nouveau Femina magazine, 1954





Serge Lutens , 1942




CoCo-is-Haute - Christian Dior rich red ruffled gown

Christian Dior Spring 2007 haute couture by Galliano





Qui Hao outfit, photo by French photographer Matthieu Belin.

Serpens collection lookbook is the product of the collaboration between the Chinese fashion designer Qui Hao and the Shanghai based, French photographer Matthieu Belin.




Philip Treacy abstract style hat

Philip Treacy, UK



Pierre Cardin-white hoop-dress

 Beijing Fashion Week – design by Pierre Cardin




Philip Treacy avant garde hat

Sculptural hat – Phillip Treacy



Serge Lutens styled for Shideido

 Shiseido – photo and styling Serge Lutens




 vlisco-netherlands-fashion flair

Visco, NL





efi davies - kate forbes Photo by Danilo Giuliani, 2010.

Stylist – Efi Davies & Costume – Kate Forbes

Photo – Danilo Giuliani, 2010.






Exhibition—Alexander McQueen—Savage Beauty




Gallery of Catherine O’Leary Designs-–-Textile-Art-and-Fashion-in-Melbourne

Outfit design – Catherine O’Leary





The Iteration II – Lisa Shahno





 British Vogue, Zulu warriors – 1951

Photo Norman Parkinson




Serkan Cura Haute Couture


photo – Shoji Fujii





More fashion with a chic jazz groove –

 ‘So Yesterday’ by the Mark Fitzgibbon Quartet – Amazon link








Sunny Harnett, 1951

photo – Norman Parkinson, UK



3 mid century models Harper’s Bazaar; Photography by: Richard Avedon

Harper’s Bazaar; Photography by Richard Avedon



dana-and-stephane-maitec-fashion photography-model on stairs high contrast lighting

Dana and Stephane Maitec photography



hyuna-shin photography sixties style black and white abstract

 Hyuna Shin photography





Dorian Leigh in a Lilli Ann outfit




Lady Gaga-in-Alexander McQueen gown

Lady Gaga wearing a gown designed by Alexander McQueen





Milan Borovička photo from the Women series




Mongolian-Princess in traditional costume

Mongolian Princess in full regalia





designer Elin Johansson




Horst_photo and Yasmin-in-a-Chanel-Evening-Dress,-British-VOGUE,-London,-1986

Yasmin in a Chanel Evening Dress, photo by Horst B Horst

British VOGUE, London, 1986




Sculptural knitwear from Hege Midtun Larsen




French Dior-Haute-Couture

Christian Dior Haute Couture 2000 Spring Summer




Hooded outfit by designer-Qiu-Hao

Serpens. autumn winter 2001 fashion collection by Chinese fashion designer Qiu Hao





Medieval-Mongol-Tatar Nomadic Fashion Show 2015

Medieval Tatar – Nomadic Fashion Show




Alexander- Mcqueen-Paris Fashion Week

Alexander McQueen: Paris Fashion Week Ready-to-Wear A/W 09 by Pascal Le Segretain on Getty Images



yojiro kake sculptural fashion

Yojiro Kake





Giorgio Armani dress –model Adama Diallo





Gilbert Adrian costume with phoenix headpiece

USA 1936


model-eva-strangelove and photographer-alessandro-saponi Brutalist sculptural costume

Model Eva Strangelove by photographer Alessandro Saponi



Adele Simpson gold dress

Harpers Bazaar -1947





Photo Tejal Patna,  Art direction Mohanad Shuraideh for Burjuman



Ocopussi-Headpiece - Renata Litvinova in a photo shoot for the magazine SOBAKA.RU

Octopus inspired theme with Renata Litvinova in a photo shoot for the magazine SOBAKA.RU





Black art couture

Photo – Henrique Gendre



Model wearing a large black head piece and gownVogue-China-September-2014


Vogue China September 2014




Green swirl-couture by Amato - green mermaid style

Amato haute couture – spiral turquoise mermaid




jacques-fath-1950-National-Museum-Kraknow classic vintage

Jacques Fath

 Photo by Willy Maywald.

1951 – National Museum Krakow




‘Syntheitc Oceans’  Wetsuit couture by Alba Prat –  Spanish Fashion Designer from Barcelona

photo © fotoDiMatti



Christian Dior Haute Couture | F/W 2010

John Galliano for Christian Dior Fall/Winter Haute Couture





We-must-never-confuse-elegance-with-snobbery - Yves Saint Laurent sketching designs on a blackboard

‘We must never confuse elegance with snobbery’ – Yves Saint Laurent




Vlisco_fashion fabrics

Geometric outfits by Viscoe





‘The Tarot Reader’ Jean Patchett and Bridget Tichenor, photo by Irving Penn

New York 1949




Model in black and white tweed dress with half overskirt by Staebe Seger  photo by Hilla Korn

Germany  1960





Theo Graham in Dior’ s evening gown called Junon l and Dorian Leigh in a gown called Venus

photo by Richard Avedon at Le Pré Catalan

Paris, 1949



Warrior costume design – Kate Forbes

Photography – Troyt Coburn –



Collaboration with sonia-biacchi-and-elise-cowin Red sculptural dress

Sonia Biacchi and Elise Cowin collaboration




sonia-biacchi designed costume

Sonia Biacchi



Jasmine Sanders in H&M attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's-Costume Institute benefit

Jasmine Sanders in H&M attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit, 2018

photo AP



Jolande photo-by-Gian Paolo Barbieri

Jolande photo by Gian Paolo Barbieri





NEXT POST  —  ‘Hideaki Miyamura’


‘Convo Rescue’ interior decorating



Cardiff-Castle-Lion-by-Hammerhead27,-via-Flickr-Stone lion sculpture with shield

Lion statue –  Cardiff Castle


Art pieces that stimulate conversation 


Art is acquired for all sorts of reasons: investment, heirlooms, decorative, functional and even as a conversational piece. After recently noticing a piece on an auction site being promoted as a conversation piece, I started seeing art pieces from this perspective and it threw up numerous scenarios. As a conversation ‘circuit breaker’ the merit of having alluring decorative art objects strategically placed around a room is obvious, but also can be a godsend if you need a discreet deflection, when you find yourself in one of those awkward silences. Which is more mortifying?  —  being a crashing bore about your art or confronting a deafening silence. Hopefully with astute buying, your guest will be absolutely enthralled with your taste and refined aesthetic and if they are genuine art lovers, it is a failsafe course of action and a possible trigger for an animated discussion about the joys of collecting.



Antique hand painted ceramic Alhambra floor vase,-circa-1900. Signed F. Jose MF Martinez

Large Alhambra floor vase -signed F. Jose MF Martinez

circa. 1900

In the context of ‘convo rescue’ art, having pieces that have intriguing provenance and background stories in their history is a bonus. For example, with a Bernard Palissy charger, attention can be drawn to the fact he had to burn his families furniture to fuel his kiln, when he was trying to imitate Chinese porcelain. Or say an Edmond Lachenal vase, who gave his studio to his wife and son Raoul, when he abandoned ceramics to take up acting, when he was having an affair with Sarah Bernhardt. For tactile attraction, the silky glaze of a Rose Cabat “feelie” sculptural vessel could stimulate sensual interest.
Pieces with a rich history or from unique design eras, like a Hispano Moresque Alhambra floor vase or an Italian Futurismo lamp, would support a good conversation. It helps to really like the piece you acquire, so you can sound genuine when heap it with praise. Try to avoid sounding too pretentious about how good you think your choice is and there’s no need to go on about how much it cost, unless it was an absolute steal. Sometimes a back up piece might be needed, something more quirky and amusing or even erotic, if the guest had little interest in art, to cover all bases.

Here are some ideas for some ‘convo rescue’ decorative objects and other art beyond any conversation. I also included some images of some mid-century and modern  ‘conversation pits’, an appealing architectural concept that peaked in the 70’s, The cosy sunken seating could be re-embraced to encourage social discourse. Can I invite you into the ‘Pool Of Thought’, to discuss this further.


Conversation pit rejuvenation 


– raising the sunken living spaces back into design contention.



” Talking in circles roundabout”   Mid-Century sunken seating conversation pit


Spencer Peterson ( flagged the idea of rebranding the ‘conversation pit’ with more appealing names such as communiqué nest’, groupthink decline’, ‘dialogue dip’ or ‘discussion crater’ to revitalize design interest in this innovative Mid-Century architectural feature. Here are some  more suggestions :-



Outdoor sunken seating - John Coolidge design

Outdoor sunken seating ‘Island Chat Basin’ living space

Photo John Coolidge




‘Pool of Thought’  conversation pit located in outdoor pool by Franco A. Pasquale Design Associates





Sunken living area— ‘Talkfest Nest’ – Javier Senosiain Nautilus House, Mexico

– social life flows inside the Nautilus without any division, a harmonic area in three dimensions where you can notice the continuous dynamic of the fourth dimension when moving in spirals over the stairs with a feeling of floating over the vegetation. –

 .…. the guests would be so gobsmacked by the audacious style they would be speechless for at least 15 minutes.




Mid-century decor ‘Convo Cavern’




‘Abstract Zone of Discourse’

From 1976 Norma Skurka NY Times Times on Interior Design

retro-space on Flickr




‘Head Read Retreat’

Miller home 1957 – Mid-Century modern home designed by Eero Saarinen and located in Columbus, Indiana





‘Candour Corner’

70’s modernist interior

Some claim the 70’s was the ‘decade that taste forgot’. For boldness and individuality of expression, it really was an exceptional decade that still has an influence on current designers.




sunken-garden-alcove paisley pattern design by Ben Hoyle

Paisley garden ‘Babbling Gabby Alcove’ designed by Ben Hoyle, NZ





‘Fish Bowl Ear Bender’

Jasper Conran’s house




‘Sunken Portal of Intimate Depth’

60’s design by architect Roger Hirsch



Rich decor by designer marcelo-rosenbaum

‘Rave On Recess’

Interior decor – Marcelo Rosenbaum



Heated-Dip hot bath

‘Heated Diatribe Soaker’ – heated outdoor pool



Philosophers-stone-circle seventies conversation pits

70’s ‘Philosophers Stone Circle’



sunken conversation pit

‘The Curvaceous Converso’



Décor objects for ‘convo rescue’ 


 Bird Headed Figure Whistle,-8th 9th-century Mexico

 Mexican bird headed whistle

8th to 9th century




Rudy Autio ceramic sculpture

 Giant sculptural vessel wrapped in Matisse-inspired illustration – Rudy Autio




Anita Reay Art toucan birds

 ‘Two Toucans’ – Anita Reay – AUS




Ankhworks-Pottery ceramic vase with organic wood appearance

  Ceramic vase with natural wood appearance – Ankhworks Pottery




‘Conversation Piece’  by Juan Munoz at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden





 Art Nouveau vase by Paul Dachsel for Ernst Wahliss




Lone Borgen and Stephen Parry handpainted vase

Lone Borgen and Stephen Parry, UK



Raku bird Catherine-Chaillou-»-GALERIE

 Raku bird by sculpteur céramiste animalier – Catherine Chaillou





 Michel di Nunzio




 ‘Danaides’  vase – Rene Lalique





 Loetz glass vase, 1901

Kunsthandel Kolhammer, Vienna, 1stdibs




Dino Martens for Aureliano Toso,-Murano-Italian-Art Glass Vase

Murano Vase –  Dino Martens for Aureliano Toso





 Surreal sgraffito vase – Laura Jean Mclaughlin ?

1stDibs – Drake, NY



 Buddhist Monk -Figurative Sculpture Jar-or-Urn---Ceramic-Sitting Meditation - Jillatay

Sitting meditation Buddhist Monk ceramic figurative sculpture

jillatay – etsy



ERTE-'Flames of Love'-Limited-Edition Collector Plate

 ‘Flames of Love’– Limited Edition Collector Plate – Erte
 head wine cooler

 Raku wine cooler –




Govinder Nazran---Bob's Your Uncle & Fanny's Your Aunt Sculpture

 ‘Bob’s Your Uncle & Fanny’s Your Aunt’  – cat and dog sculpture by Govinder Nazran




Grey-Raku---Marika Baumler-'Grijze Raku'-h-30-cm

‘Grijze Raku’ –  Marika Baumler, France

height – 30 cm


John-Maltby abstract sculpture

 John Maltby abstract sculpture



Ceramic wall panel - by Léger Fernand-1stDibs-Roland Brice

 Ceramic wall panel – by Léger Fernand



Lidya-Buzio---XIX--1985----Artsy - contemporary vase with cityscape decoration

 XIX – Lidya Buzio





Melanie-FERGUSON-soda fired vessel

 ‘Restricted Zone ‘- handbuilt, coil constructed, soda fired stoneware vessel

Melanie Ferguson




 ‘After Fire’ – Jeff Mincham




Daum, Nancy and Louis Majorelle, an orange glass vase with wrought iron frame,-circa 1920

Orange glass Art Deco vase – Daum, Nancy and Louis Majorelle




Modernist Vase by Michael Köhler - 1982 Dana John LA


Contemporary vase by Michael Köhler – 1982

Dana John LA – 1stDibs




Myrton Purkiss plate,-detailed and colorfully painted geometric designs,

 Plate with painted geometric designs – Myrton Purkiss




 GAUTENG Éléphant

 Raku GAUTENG Éléphant – Divart, France




Metamorphose I (Personnage feminin) – Pablo Picasso




Porcelain vase, Adelaide Alsop Robineau-for-California-Faience,-ca

 Porcelain vase, Adelaide Alsop Robineau



Powerhouse-Derek-acquisition-indigenous-artist-from-Ernabella-Australia-Derek Jungarrayi Thompson

 Australian artist Derek Jungarrayi Thompson with monumental ceramic vessel




Primavera White, Brown and Black Glaze Vase1930-39GARY-RUBINSTEIN-ANTIQUES

 Primavera White, Brown and Black Glaze Vase, 1930

Gary Rubinstein Antiques



Raku Small Garden Sprite-II-Wall Hanging by Leslie Ahrens Original

 Raku  ‘Garden Sprite II’  – Wall Hanging by Leslie Ahrens




Raku Andrzej Chybowski-Warsaw-Maj-2012

 Raku spherical bottle by Andrzej Chybowski-Warsaw, Poland





 Massive glazed ceramic vessel with sgraffito decoration, “Menage a Trois,” Los Angeles, CA, 1989

height 30 inches – Richard Duffey





ROGOV -Inna-(1949)

 Inna Rogova ceramic sculpture




Sergei Isupov Ferrin-Contemporary sculpture

Sergei Isupov Ferrin – Contemporary figurine




Ron-Meyers-Pottery plate

 Ron Meyers




Rose Cabat vase, bulbous shape, covered in tan and blue matte glaze

 Rose Cabat bulbous shaped ‘feelie’ vessels




Stephen Bird vase

 Stephen Bird vase – handpainted with Australian outback landscape




That way madness lies by John Morris

 ‘That way madness lies’ by John Morris





Thomas Fritsch-–-Artrium

André Aleth MASSON ceramic lamp – height 30 inches

 Thomas Fritsch



Tricia Cline, figurative ceramic sculpture

 ‘Pope Joey No.2′  – Exiles From Lower Utopia series

Tricia Cline




Up on the Roof by Merry Gallery in Tucson, Arizona

 ‘Up on the Roof’ by Merry Arttoones

Vase and incense burner

 Obsidian Gallery in Tucson, Arizona




Twin handled vase_Burr Owls Laurie Shaman

 ‘Burr Owls’ –  Laurie Shaman




William De Morgan-----inspired by the brilliant colours of Islamic pottery, especially the bright Iznik turquoise

 William De Morgan bowl —–inspired by the brilliant colours of Islamic pottery, especially the bright Iznik turquoise




William-Moorcroft-Flambe-Vase Koi fish

 Moorcroft Flambe koi vase




Wu-Tong figural sculpture

 Wu Tong




photo-Gian Paolo Barbieri-1979

photo – Gian Paolo Barbieri – 1979



Conversation-Starter Beth Tarkington asymetrical bottle with dancing nude girl decoration

‘Conversation Starter’  – Beth Tarkington





‘Totem with snake’ by Ernst Neizvestny

artnet galleries





Maiden in pink dress Art Nouveau female figure vase




calvin-ma sculpture

Ceramic sculpture by San Francisco based artist Calvin Ma


” My work draws inspiration from the toys and action figures I had growing up. As an introverted and socially awkward kid, the plastic heroes, villains and their vehicles helped me cope with my inability to socialize. They served as an escape for me and soon became a passion. Now, as an introverted and socially awkward adult, I create artwork that reflects on the struggles I have with social anxiety. Those toys have become a visual reference in my work and in a way, still help me cope. ‘Homebodies: Recollective’ is a continuation of the series I’ve been working on, but incorporates pop culture related vehicles. Movies and cartoons were also welcome distractions growing up, so I thought it would be interesting to pair more recognizable elements with my work.” – Calvin Ma





‘Belly Dancer Vessel’ – KLM ceramics

Artsy Home




Antique golden glass snuff bottle, China




Odile-Frachet heavy textured ceramic sculpture

‘Face éventail—Odile Frachet




Terri-Kern ceramic bottle

‘Il mio dilemma quotidiano’, Terri Kern





NEXT POST  —  ‘Sculptural Couture’


2 ceramicists with vivid illustration


Larger than life characters entwined with nature, animals, striking imagery, channeling  the mystical and subconscious, all mixed with a lucid clarity, are some of the recurring themes that Jessie Mooy and Jenny Mendes both use in the decorative styles of their art. Both artists create expressive figures, Jenny Mendes using edgy, innocent and mischievous looking humans and animals that look like they belong in a children’s story that’s waiting to unfold, while Jessie’s figures reflect a soulful nobility and interact with botanical decorations.



Jessie Mooy, France


Born in Amsterdam, Jessie emigrated with her parents to South Africa when she was a child. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Pretoria, specializing in painting, then went on to study sculpture techniques at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. Since 2009 she has been living and working in the Dordogne in France, famous for its cave art and Romanesque churches. Her studio Atelier la Tour des Bidoux is situated in a Medieval Archer’s Tower near Riberac.



3-girls-raku-Jessie Mooy

 Three girls dancing – raku sculpture – Jessie Mooy


‘In my art, the image of woman functions as a counterforce to all forms of alienation, especially alienation from nature and from the spiritual, by virtue of the fact that woman is depicted as a life-giving earth mother or as a custodian of all life in nature. In my ceramic work my continued interest in the creative aspect of the earth, plants and all its creatures has always been evident, not only in the medium, but also in the formal variety e.g. vessels become flowers, handles and rims of vases become leaves. My interest in the female form becomes part of a vessel to express oneness with nature. My ongoing study of the ancient art of Egypt and Greece reflects all these above-mentioned interests. There is a beauty that transcends the temporary in the art of these cultures. I try to achieve the same timelessness.’


‘Living in a world devoid of spiritual aspirations and where the importance of material interests is stressed, I believe that the female is the natural medium to invoke an order to guard the great mysteries of the unknown. She has to weave together the reality of our conscious life and the mystical, intuitive and divine part of ourselves which is an element of nature.’


 Ceramist-in-Riberac-(French) - Jessie Mooy

Vase featuring female head – Jessie Mooy



1994-two_ladies_in_an_architectural_setting_h_50cm - Jessie Mooy

 Two women and a dog in architectural setting – ceramic sculpture by Jessie Mooy

Height 51cm – 1994




 Raku bust on marble base – Jessie Mooy



2003-moondance -Jessie Mooy

 ‘Moondance’ – Minoan style dish plaque – Jessie Mooy





 Jessie Mooy ceramic workshop




 Jessie Mooy



figurine-candelabrum-raku-Jessie Mooy

 Raku figurine bust candelabrum – Jessie Mooy




harlequin-rider-big-oval-plate Harlequin-Cavalier,-oval-plate.-Raku

 Harlequin Cavalier riding a horse – large oval plate by Jessie Mooy




harmony figurine by Jessie Mooy

 ‘Harmony’  – Jessie Mooy



Woman with black birds vase by Jessie Mooy

 Jessie Mooy vase




harlequin-rider-Jessie Mooy

   Harlequin riding a horse – Jessie Mooy




Jessie Mooy Vase.-Eva in the forest.-earthenware.-2013

‘Eva in the forest’ Jessie Mooy Vase earthenware






 ‘Mother & Child’ – Jessie Mooy



oquerico,-Villebois-Lavalette,-France Botanical decorated vase

 Twin handled vase with botanical decoration – jessie Mooy





Lady with birds decorative plate – Jessie Mooy




female flute player Jessie Mooy

 Dancing female with flute – Jessie Mooy




queen-raku bust Jaeaaie Mooy

 ‘Queen’ – raku bust – Jessie Mooy




Lady-with-hat vase Jessie Mooy

 ‘Lady with Hat’ twin handled vase – Jessie Mooy


 40cm-raku-sculptures Lucia and Bijou

Lucia and Bijou’ – Raku cat sculptures by Jessie Mooy






Vase-Bidoux JEssie Mooy

Vase with  female face motif – Jessie Mooy


Jessie’s website




Jenny Mendes, Ohio USA


Jenny Mendes received her BFA in Ceramics from Washington University in St. Louis. She also did residencies at The Resen Ceramics Colony in Resen, Macedonia, and Penland School of Crafts, North Carolina. Jenny draws on mythology and folk art as her premise, using figurative imagery, both human and animal to create charismatic stories of a much larger scale



Jenny Mendes vases - 1995

Hand sculpted Bird Vases – Jenny Mendes


‘Using clay as my primary material, I have found an entry way into my subconscious. I work intuitively with a palate comprised of many things. First I create a structure which I overlay with painted patterns of emotional experience, sensory based memories, cellular formations, and other discoveries. Working within a human/animal narrative, I engage in a dialogue that witnesses and reflects an invitation into my world.’


‘I love to draw on anything but especially clay. Discovering the pleasure of drawing on and into a bone dry clay tile was illuminating for me. This soft subtractive way of drawing leads me into my subject in a way that drawing on paper never has. I don’t think my process is the most exciting thing to watch. Probably the [most] interesting [part of my process] is when a mysterious image comes to me from where I know not’.  – from an article on Terra Sigillata Clay Tile Painting by Jenny Mendez at Ceramic Arts Daily.




Jenne Mendes vase

 Cylindrical hand built vase – Jenny Mendes



Ceramic Pottery Dessert Plate---Popsicle Delight

  Dessert Plate—‘Popsicle Delight’ – Jenny Mendes





‘ Two Face Cat Cup’ – Jenny Mendes




Jenny with dog

 Jenny Mendes




Ceramic Dessert Plate---Bunnys Been Busy

‘Bunny’s Been Busy’ –  Ceramic Dessert Plate—Jenny Mendes




Ceramic-vases-by-Jenny Mendes-Imaginative Bloom

‘Imaginative Bloom’ ceramic vases by Jenny Mendes




Cup---Ceramic-Tumbler Jenny Mendes

 Ceramic Tumbler – Jenny Mendes





 ‘Protector’ – oval platter – Jenny Mendes



Flower-Vase---In The Vines

‘In The Vines’  – Flower vase—Jenny Mendes




Hand built and painted ceramic tumbler

 Hand painted ceramic tumbler – Jenny Mendes



Ceramic-charger - Jenny Mendes

 Hand painted plate – Jenny Mendes




Jenny Mendes ceramic plate

 Masked person motif plate – Jenny Mendes




Oval bowl handpainted girl - Jenny Mendes

 Abstract oval bowl – Jenny mendes




girl figure tumbler- Jenny Mendes

 Jenny Mendes tumbler




For-The-Love-Of-Cats---Pinch-Bowl by jenny Mendes

 Jenny Mendes  ‘For The Love Of Cats’ —Pinch Bowl




Polychrome tumbler - Jenny mendes

 Jenny Mendes tumbler



Jenny-Mendes--egg cups

 Jenny Mendes



Jenny Mendes -Diamond Head

‘Diamond Head’  bowl – Jenny Mendes




Jenny-Mendes--polychrome duck

 Handpainted ceramic duck – Jenny mendes




Jenny-Mendes abstract faces tumbler

 Abstract faces cup – Jenny Mendes




Girl swimming with dolphins plate - jenny mendes

 Decorative plate – girl swimming with dolphins – Jenny mendes




Diamond Head ceramic shakers

‘All Eight Faces’ – Salt and Pepper Shakers – Jenny Mendes



Tile of girl in forest

 ‘Fern Garden’ ceramic tile – Jenny Mendes




Jenny-Mendes---ceramic-sculpture-spotty monkey

 Jenny Mendes—ceramic sculpture spotted monkey




Yellow-Plate Jenny Mendes

Jenny Mendes plate –  Woman holding mask surrounded by leaves


Jenny’s website

Etsy –

Follow her blog at



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Women using traditional pottery


A visual exploration on the theme of women using their pottery in performance, creation, transportation, market sales and rituals.


Adrica, Toubou woman souvenir seller. western Ennedi. Chad

 Toubou woman souvenir seller. western Ennedi. Chad

Photo – © Jacques Taberlet.


The traditional usage of pottery taps into a rich vein of customs, from tribal ceremony and production techniques to being integrated into dance performance and street festivals. The ancient traditions used the pot as a metaphor for sustenance and divine plentitude following the ancient tribal belief of enacting visual rituals to attract abundance. The Bihan Parab “Indigenous Seeds Festival ” in India has a procession of women carrying decorated earthen pots containing seeds accompanied by youths with drums, which passes through all the villages.. The leading woman carries a special pot constructed with paddy seeds, symbolizing Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Ritual dancing among worshippers of the thunder deity, Shango, sometimes balance a pottery container of fire on their heads while dancing. The Egbado Yoruba have dances that include balancing “delicate terracotta figures” on their heads while moving their arms and torso.
Some of the surviving ancient cultures value and preserve these traditions even more so now with the pervasive growth of modern technology.



Calabashes being sold by a female street merchant ,Mali

Selling Calabashes on the street in Mali, Africa


The American Native Indians have undergone a revival of their indigenous pottery art and rescued techniques and knowledge from the claws of obscurity and created successful enterprises from their traditional arts. It has been recognized as an essential path to preserving their ancestral traditions and craftsmanship and has led to the advancement of their art forms and become a vital resource.
It’s fascinating to see that many of these cultures prefer to adhere to the ancient traditions of their ancestors, excavating their clay, using hand assembly and firing their pots using age-old practices rather than modern techniques. The reverence to their traditions has reinforced their culture through its methods, simplicity and spiritual observations of feast days, seasonal festivals and tribal laws. These customs can date back thousands of years and carry a deep resonance so its understandable how pottery making and other crafts have helped to maintain a sense of cohesiveness in their culture. An ancient belief existed that Athena, the patroness of crafts, imparted rejuvenation to women who dedicated themselves to creative tasks such as – pottery, weaving, tapestry, and playing music.
Sometimes the whole family is involved in the production of the pottery crafts, and the woman are the primary artisans. Their innate sensitivity is respected, especially with certain pots and figures created with specific decorations that can impart spiritual awareness through their physical handling. In some instances, the pottery arts is solely a matriarchal endeavor.


Traditional pottery making at Kalabougou village in Mali


 Kalabougou women making a mound to fire their pots

Kalabougou women using tree cuttings to make a mound to fire their pots

Segou, Mali



The women-in the village of Kalabougou on the River-Niger specialise in producing hand made clay pots

 Women from the village of Kalabougou on the River Niger baking their hand made clay pots



Quenching - Steam rises from a burning hot-pot that-has been immersed in the berry mixture. The older woman-behind is picking up a smaller pot with a pair of tongs

 Quenching –  Immersing hot pots into a berry mixture. The older woman in the background is picking up a smaller pot with a pair of tongs



A red stone slip,-from an at market, is applied to the formed and dried pot before firing

 A Kalabougou woman applying a red stone slip for glazing, from an art market, to the formed and dried pot before firing.




Allan Rickmann flickr - Kalabougou women firing pots

  Kalabougou women firing pots, Mali – Africa

Allan Rickmann –  flickr



Female potter making large clay pots at the village of Kalabougou

 Female potter hand making large clay pots at the village of Kalabougou



tribal woman forming clay in Mali

Tribal woman forming a pot – Kalabougou village

photo by Jacqueline Hoerter & Patrick Houdebine

See video below for more Kalbougou Pottery



Fratelli-Fanciullacci jug

 Fratelli Fanciullacci jug with glazed and unglazed surface




Karaja pottery-making

Pipe smoking female potter

Ceramic is an art form exclusive to women among the Karajá in Brazil

Photo: Vladimir Kozak



Acasia wood figure of a servant girl. New Kingdom._louvre_museum

 Acasia wood figure of a servant girl. New Kingdom, Egypt

Louvre Museum



Africa Zulu girl carrying a clay pot on her- ead

 African Zulu girl carrying a traditional pot



Alfarera of Cocucho in Charapan,-producing pot with her daughter

 Alfarera of Cocucho in Charapan, Mexico – making a pot with her daughter



A woman sells pots at Hassan Nagar in city of Hyderabad

Selling pots at Hassan Nagar in city of Hyderabad



Bal Anat pot dancing

 Zoraida performing the Pot Dance Choreography as part of the original Bal Anat belly dance troupe begun by Jamila Salimpour in 1968 in California




 Bal Ana dancing




Clay Pot Sotho People

 Sotho woman with pot, ZA




 Woman carrying pot in a Olbia Tempio street parade, Italy



Dogon Tribe People

 Dogon Tribe women with pots




 Apache woman with woven pot

Photo – Native News Network



Matka,-a-traditional-game-in-which-group-of-men women and children break-a-pot-which-is-full-of-butter

Children playing Matka, a traditional Indian game where a pot of ghee is broken.




lithograph, Muramasa Kudo, Japanese

Reclining women with pot – Japanese lithograph –  Muramasa Kudo





 Hopi woman with a jar.  Their art used symbols and signs to represent their ideas, beliefs, dreams, and visions.

” The most successful imitator of this ancient ware, who is not a Hopi at all, but the Tewa woman Nampeyo, of the village Hano, says that its superiority was obtained by the use of lignite, by which the prehistoric potters were able to fire their vessels for several days; but a well-informed traditionalist, on the contrary, asserts that it is the result of burying the clay in moist sand for a long time, perhaps two moons, which ’caused something in the clay to rot’.”  –



Ganges pot protest, India



Up to 400 women  participating in a yatra ( pilgrimage ) in a celebration of their identity as women and equal human beings. In defiance, they took water from a pump at the Ganges River designated for use only by upper caste peoples, which excluded them. After they took the water back to their villages they returned to the Ganges riverside once again, throwing the pots into the river, and collectively taking a vow that they would not let themselves be oppressed in the year ahead.

(WNV / Priyanka Borpujari)





Ganges Yatra – Bihar’s Khagaria district – 2011




Photo by 20th-century Indian photographer A.L.Syed



Indian girl weavng Photo by A L Syed

Indian girl weaving  Photo by A.L.Syed



india---EnlasdunasdeKuri-India-(FILEminimizer) Three Indian ladies carrying water pots

 Indian water bearers




Lucinda Mudge handmade coil vases,The Gallery at Grande Provance, Franschhoek

Painting handmade coil vases, – Lucinda Mudge

The Gallery at Grande Provance, Franschhoek, South Africa




Nesta Nala---famous-for-her-sought-after-pottery-specifically-the-Ukhamba--a-smoke-black,-thin-walled,-round-bottomed-beer-pot,

 Nesta Nala—famous for her sought after pottery specifically the ‘Ukhamba’–a smoke black, thin walled, round bottomed beer pot,



Off to Market, Madagascar,-2006

Pot bearing women walking in the early morning through giant Baobab trees to the market in Madagascar, 2006

phoho- Beth Moon



Indian pottery factory

A women strolling past a pottery shop –  Jaisalmer, Rajasthan





 Painting pots in Pondicherry




Production of pottery by women of the Kabylia and Aures mountains

A woman from the Kabylia and Aures mountains making pottery




Purepecha Woman and Clay Pots in Cocucho, Michoacan, Mexico

A Purepecha Woman with her clay pots in Cocucho, Michoacan, Mexico





Rosa Covarrubias circa 1926 by Edward Weston




Royal Worcester Egyptian Water Carrier James Hardey

Royal Worcester ‘Egyptian Water Carrier’ figurine modelled by  James Hardey





Nuer woman carrying a pot.

Nuer woman, Sudan




San Diego City & County Adminstration Building

Art Deco statue of women with pot –  San Diego City & County Administration Building

penfoto – flickr





Street art in Senegal





South Tunisian girl with pot




The daily grind-Traditional painted house in Kassena, Burkina Faso. By Louis Montrose

 ‘The daily grind’– Traditional painted house in Kassena, Burkina Faso.

By Louis Montrose


 Tunisian Bedouin-woman.-Africa

An old postcard photo of a Bedouin girl in Tunisia




The famous Venda potter,-Rebecca Matibe sits-in her garden with one of-her sculptures behind her and one of her traditional pots

Renown Venda potter, Rebecca Matib



Matka earthen pot race in desert sand dune Bikaner camel festival-2011

Woman racing with Matka earthen pots in the desert at the Bikaner camel festival-2011




Vintage postcard of a Chaouri/Berber girl



 Ghana Kassana mub home

Women painting a mud house with zigzag notifs – Kassena Compound, Ghana




Traditional dress of Afghanistan

An Afghani women wearing a traditional outfit




Woman in pottery shop, Jaipur, India

Pot emporium, Jaipur, India





A women wearing a tribal dress in Jaisalmer, India

Photo J. Versteeg




Four women carrying water jars,on their heads

 Women carrying large water jars



Royal Dux porcelain-Figurine-Grecian man and woman carrying pots

Figurine of Grecian man and woman – Royal Dux porcelain





From the book, African Image by Sam Haskins




FRENCH SCHOOL (19th Century). Woman with Urn. Bronze with greenish-brown patina.

Woman with Urn – French Art Nouveau





French Art Deco Figural Statue by Pierre LeFaguays, 1920's.Standing woman holding a pot

French Art Deco Figural Statue by Pierre LeFaguays





detall-de-les-rajoles-by-Matilde-Martínez Portugese wall tiles

Detall de les rajoles by Matilde Martínez




Harem-Dancer Raqs-Sharki-with-veil - Middle Eastern belly dnacer

Raks Sharqi veil dancing on elevated heels with pots



Dassanech-woman with spear and pot

Daasanach warrior girl

 The Daasanach tribe is one of the ancient tribes of Africa. These pastoralists live in three different East African countries, Kenya, the Sudan, and Ethiopia.




19th C. Terracotta figure of Rebecca at the well by Friedrich Goldscheider female sculpture

Terracotta figure of Rebecca at the well by Friedrich Goldscheider

19th Century



Gabriel Argy-Rousseau (1885-1953), Pâte de verre, Vase.

Pâte de verre, Vase by Gabriel Argy-Rousseau (1885-1953)




Omo-Valley Mursi tribe woman with pot

Mursi tribe woman with pot, Ethiopia


African girls with small pot

Photo Irving Penn – 1967



Girl carrying brass pot Welcome-Ceremony.-Rajasthan,-Northern-India

Welcome Ceremony. Rajasthan, India



Royal-Dux-Art-Nouveau ceramic sculpture of a girl with a pot

Royal Dux Art Nouveau Ceramic Figural Bowl




Furio-Piccirilli sculpture of an angel carrying a pot

Sculpture by Furio Piccirilli

Photo by Eugen Neuhaus


Kalabougou pottery in Mali




Also see the Veniceclayartists post – Women with Pots






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