Tag Archives: Clarice Cliff

tithonia for Clarice Cliff

I’m still cutting buckets of tithonia from the community garden plot and filling every vase in the house, even those I usually leave empty, like this museum reissue of a Clarice Cliff vase, the 20th century British ceramic artist famous for her post-WWI “Bizarre” line of ceramics. With her love of strong color, I think she’d approve of tithonia.


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I first became aware of her work through reading about the Bloomsbury group, the salon of British artists that surrounded Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell in pre-WWII England. If you’re looking for a literary rabbit hole to burrow into for a decade or so, I highly recommend the countless journals, letters, and fiction of this prolific, compulsively creative group. Must have been nice to have John Maynard Keynes as your personal stockbroker, too.

Back to Clarice, from Wikipedia: “Between 1932 and 1934 Cliff was the art director for a major project involving nearly 30 artists of the day (prompted by the Prince of Wales) to promote good design on tableware. The ‘Artists in Industry’ earthenware examples were produced under her direction, and the artists included such notable names as Duncan Grant, Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, Vanessa Bell, and Dame Laura Knight. The project ‘Modern Art for the Table’ was launched at Harrods London in October 1934 but received a mixed response from both the public and the press, though at the same time Cliff’s own patterns and shapes were selling in large quantities around the world.”