Betty Lou Nichols of Betty Lou Nichols Ceramics is one of the better known California potters. She first studied art at Fullerton High School and then continued her art studies at Fullerton Junior College where Betty Lou studied under Mary Hodgedon, considered the foremost authority on ceramic work in California. She started her business in her parents’ backyard in 1945. By 1949, Betty Lou Nichols had a well established business in La Habra, California with 30 full time employees.
Today, Betty Lou Nichols is best known for her ceramic head vases. The early Betty Lou head vases and figurines were created with slight variations of ruffles, bows, hair and color combinations giving each one an individual and unique look. She also manufactured a huge Christmas line and other ornamental figurines. In the later years, Betty Lou Nichols produced Jam Jar and Syrup Pitchers for Knott’s Berry Farm as well as ceramic figurines from the animated film Fantasia for Disneyland in Anaheim, California. She closed the doors of Betty Lou Nichols Ceramics in 1962.
Betty Lou went on to paint portraits and landscapes continuing until her untimely death in 1995. Her paintings are a rare find and highly sought after.
In her later years, Betty Lou Nichols was better known locally for her paintings than for her ceramics. She did art shows at several art galleries and was commissioned to paint portraits by many well known people. She also taught painting in her home studio.
Through the years, the popularity of Betty Lou head vases has continued to grow, not just the named Luanne head vases, but also others carrying the Betty Lou Nichols name.
For a more detailed and completed guide on Betty Lou Nichols see Maddy Gordon’s Head Vases, Etc., the Artistry of Betty Lou Nichols. Also see “Collector’s Encyclopedia of California Pottery, Second Edition” by Jack Chipman.
Please contact Luanne by email at luanne at ceramicrepairbyluanne dot com or by phone at 714-713-0413.