Clarice Cliff was a ceramic artist active from 1922 to 1940.
Clarice was born in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, England the daughter of Harry Thomas Cliff and Ann Machin; her father was the great-great-great grandson of Thomas Wedgwood IV (1716-1773), the eldest brother of Josiah Wedgwood the famous potter.
At the age of 14 she started working in the potteries. She studied at the Burslem School of Art in the evenings.
Her first job was as a gilder, and once she had mastered this she changed jobs to learn freehand painting at another potbank, then moved to A.J. Wilkinson's in 1916, to improve her chances of becoming a modeller.
This was an unusual start to an unusual career: most 'pottery girls' mastered a particular task and then stayed with that to maximise their income as they were paid by the piece. However, Clarice was ambitious and prepared to take wage reductions to start at the bottom to acquire a new skill, in the process acquiring a wide range of expertise including outlining, tubelining, enamelling, banding and modelling.
Eventually, Clarice's wide range of abilities were recognised, and she was given an opportunity to decorate some of the factory's defective 'glost' (white) ware in her own freehand patterns. She covered the imperfections in simple patterns of triangles, vividly coloured in a style that was to become known as 'Original Bizarre'.
To the surprise of the company's salesmen, this was immediately popular. She was provided with her own studio and another painter to assist, but this rapidly expanded to a team of around 70 young painters, mainly women but four boys - they hand painted the wares under her direction.