Please allow me to introduce you to the work of Gemma Taccogna.
Gemma Taccogna sadly passed away in 2007 but from the 50's onwards she was a talented artist creating ceramic tiles, jewellery and various object made of papier mache. Of all her work my favourite pieces are her papier mache heads and I'm chuffed to bits to say that I own three of them!
I discovered Gemma's work a few years ago by accident whilst browsing through eBay. I can remember being in a school art class many years ago and my art teacher commenting that all the people and animals I drew had large eyes, I hadn't noticed but he was right and that was just the natural way for me to draw. Gemma's heads have large eyes too and I think this was part of the attraction for me, as well as the fact that they have a certain folk art quality to them.
In the 60's the likes of Hollywood celebrities and even Peggy Guggenheim herself collected Gemma's work and cool boutiques used her heads to display their goods.
Here's my little collection...2 heads and a head pin cushion.
At a glance you could be forgiven for thinking that they are made of porcelain and not paper as the finish is so smooth, not like those lumpy bumpy piggy banks we all made at junior school!
The floral pattern on the dress and the head scarf is indeed fabric that's been applied to the surface, edged with fine cord and then varnished over.
This pin cushion was the fist Gemma I bought, she's in perfect condition.
This one was a birthday gift, I think she might be an early example of Gemma's heads because she seems to have a naivety about her whereas the others seem to be a little more sophisticated.
When she arrived through the post from America she was in a sorry state...
this is how she looked when I unwrapped her...I carefully cleaned her up. Hopefully she's happy with her face lift.
I've also managed to get my hands on this book about Gemma's decorated tile designs.
I particularly like these designs
But what I would love to own is one of Gemma black and white heads like these.
I think they're wonderful and so it would seem do a lot of other people as the prices for these are going up all the time...maybe one day!!
Apologies to the person who owns this photograph, I can't find a credit on the Internet but if you recognise it as yours then please contact me and I'll credit it to you.