Elisabeth Joulia was a French ceramicist born in Pur de Dôme in 1925. She studied for three years; the first year at the Beaux-Arts de Clermont-Ferrand where she studied painting and sculpture, the second year she moved to Paris to master the art of fresco painting, and in the third year she studied ceramics at the Beaux-Arts in Bourges under the expertise of Jean Lerat.
Jean Lerat encouraged her to stay in the area and so she started working in La Borne, the birthplace of traditional stone pottery. It was there that she joined a group of avant-garde potters with Jean and Jacqueline Lerat. Joulia’s work was inspired by the region’s history, the outlook of the other artists around her and the landscapes of the area. She created raw and earthy pieces inspired by nature.
Joulia’s work quickly became recognised as outstanding and she took part in many exhibitions. In 1968 she won the prize of the Vallauris biennale and during the 60s and 70s Joulia completed many important projects for public spaces.
At the beginning of the 1970s Joulia went travelling to Nepal, Egypt and Japan where she was inspired by their different cultures. Primitif themes and symbols such as the totem pole began to appear in Elisabeth Joulia’s work, which maintained an organic feel throughout her career.