Flora-dorables Head Collectible Vases at Surf City Art Walk Sept. 15

Finely decorated vases from the 1940s and 1950s, affectionately known as the ‘Flora-dorables’, will be showcased in the original work of artist Betty Lou Nichols on Wed., Sept. 15, 2010 during the downtown Huntington Beach Art Walk.

Select works of this native Californian famous for creating delightful “head” vases during the mid-20th century, will be shown at Altera Real Estate, 301 Main St., #112, from 6 to 9 p.m.  Part of the monthly (3rd Wednesday) Huntington Beach Art  Walk which features emerging and established artists, the Flora-dorables ceramics will be on display one night only.

Nichols’ daughter and Art Walk founder Luanne Shoup put together the upcoming display of rare and limited pieces  drawing from private collections.  Designed in the Gay ‘90s style,  the whimsical collector pieces usually included women wearing very large hats  heavily decorated with feathers and flowers. They were especially fun for the artist to create in clay–Nichols designed the original models, reduced them to a base that could be cast in a mold, then carefully hand applied ruffles, curls, hats, lace and eyelashes from thinly rolled clay cut and shaped. She kept faces simple with unpainted eyebrows and closed eyes while lips and cheeks were painted with colors no other ceramicist used at the time.

Though wildly successful and popular, sales of  Flora-dorables decreased due to lack of patent laws to prohibit less expensive spin-off imports from flooding the market.  Nichols shut down the factory she operated 17 years  from 1945-1962. Looking for a new direction, she turned to painting and became recognized as one of California’s prominent female artists. Her portraits and landscapes portrayed the innocence of children and strong character of the elderly. You can see one of her commissioned works, a portrait of Mrs. Walter Knotts, on display at Knott’s Berry Farm. In later life she taught art and was Chairman of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.

Ducks & bunnies, and limited edition figurines for the Disney Company taken from the film Fantasia will be shown during the Art Walk, which encompasses six-blocks  along Main Street and The Strand in HB. The free event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and includes an Art Walk map to direct you to 18 locations where art displays will be featured. Walking maps  can be found along the route in several locations, including Huntington Beach Art Center, 538 Main St.

Huntington Beach Art Center currently is hosting a Plein Air Festival which will provide an extra treat for those attending Art Walk. Other highlights of the September 2010 Art Walk include these listed by artist &  location:
Erin O’Shea – Library, 525 Main St
Jason Loggins – Electric Chair, 410 Main St.
Chad Masri – Rockin Fig Surf HDQ, 316 Main St.
Kim Hamrock (Danger Woman, award-winning surfer) – Makin Waves Salon, 320 Main St.
William Hodge; Kevin Callies – 7 Plaza Almeria Courtyard, 301 Main St.
Joshua Serafin – Main Street Wine Co., 301 Main St #105


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