Beatrice Wood (March 3, 1893 – March 12, 1998) was born in San Francisco, California, the daughter of wealthy socialites. She was an American artist and studio potter involved in the Avant Garde movement in the United States; she founded The Blind Man magazine in New York City with French artist Marcel Duchamp and writer Henri-Pierre Roché in 1916. Despite her parents' strong opposition, Wood insisted on pursuing a career in the arts and studied acting at the Comédie-Française and art at the Académie Julian. In her early forties, after a succession of artistic careers (most notably as an actress) and an annulled marriage, Beatrice moved to Los Angeles, California. While on a trip to hear J. Krishnamurti speak in the Netherlands, she bought a pair of baroque plates with a luster glaze. She wanted to find a matching teapot to go along with it, but was unsuccessful. Deciding to make the teapot herself, she enrolled in a ceramic class at Hollywood High School. She studied with a number of leading ceramists including Gertrude and Otto Natzler. She ultimately developed a signature style of glazing, an all-over, in-glaze luster that draws the metallic salts to the surface of the glaze by starving the kiln of oxygen.
At the age of 90, Beatrice became a writer, having been encouraged to write by her friend, Anais Nin. Her best-known book is her autobiography, I Shock Myself (1985). When asked the secret to her longevity, she would respond, "I owe it all to chocolate and young men. Wood was characterized as the "Mama of Dada." She partially inspired the character of Rose DeWitt Bukater in James Cameron's 1997 film, Titanic after the director read Wood's autobiography while developing the film. In 1994, the Smithsonian Institution named Wood an "Esteemed American Artist". Wood left her home and studio to the Happy Valley Foundation. In 2005 it was adapted and opened as The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts. Beatrice Wood died nine days after her 105th birthday in Ojai, California.