Buckley C (2012) Authenticity, tradition and modernity: Marguerite Wildenhain and Ruth Duckworth, women émigré studio potters, 1936–1964. In: A Feustel, I Hansen-Schaberg & W Thöner (Eds) Entfernt: Frauen des Bauhauses während der NS-Zeit – Verfolgung und Exil, Women in Exile (volume 5). Munich: edition text+kritik, Richard Boorberg +Verlag GmbH & Co KG.
This chapter explores the lives and work of Ruth Duckworth and Marguerite Wildenhain, investigating why and how these two women exiles designed ceramics. The chapter brings together several strands of research, seeking to answer questions about women ceramic designers, gender, exile and émigré, additionally fuelled by Buckley's interest in the nature of exile when moving from more than one country. The two ceramicists, Duckworth and Wildenhain, make a compelling case study: both were double-exiles or ‘birds of passage’, both produced work that defied patriarchal assumptions about women designers roles, and both were working in the mid-century, a period of complexity and change in design, politics, economic and social conditions.
The research contributes to ceramic design history and craft history, bringing new knowledge into the public domain, but it also develops an understanding of the interconnections between gender, exile, émigrés and cultural production in the mid-twentieth century in two contrasting places: Northern California and London.
The chapter developed from an invitation to speak at the Women in Exile conference at the Dessau Bauhaus in 2011. Buckley's research was underpinned by the conference that she co-organised with Tobias Hochscherf at Northumbria University in 2009 and by the special issue of Visual Culture in Britain that the pair co-edited in 2012 ('Channel crossings: Continental European émigrés, exiles and migrants 1933 to 1956’, vol.13, no.3) that was published from this. Buckley had worked at length on women designers in the US pottery industry between 1999 and 2002 (funded by the British Academy and AHRC), and had considerable primary material that had not been written up. Drawing on research at the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, Buckley found that there remained a number of questions about women, exile and migration, which she set out to answer here.