Life Dates1913 - 1976
BiographyEllamarie and Jackson Woolley experimented with enameling at a time when no formal training was available; therefore, becoming self-taught artists. Through trial and error the team moved from basic enameling on copper to a wide variety of techniques including dry inlay, sgraffito (scratching the surface,) repousse (raised patterning), hammered, crushed and patinated copper. Together, the artists created impressive murals by firing maximum kiln-size pieces that were then fitted together in a truly impressive achievement not only because of the size of the works, but for the detail and precision of the design. By exhibiting in a major national exhibitions and galleries with such experimental work, the couple aroused attention and increased appreciation for enameling. Their collective work was commissioned by individual patrons and the city of San Diego for interior and exterior public murals. Ellamarie Woolley began her individual enameling career with plates of simple motifs, and then developing into grander sizes and complex designs. It was in the early years of her enamels that her distinct stylized figures and animals emerged. By the mid-1960’s she took a daring departure from the traditional, functional (and financially lucrative) ways of working into a daring series of simplified geometric patterns. Using iconic shapes, basic coloring and dynamic visual movement, Woolley created kaleidoscopic patterns that illustrated balance, radiation and optical illusion of line. In the last two years of her life, she received a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Arts giving her financial freedom to explore all artistic mediums.