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 Hanefa Enylla Wood Saunders  (1878 - 1948)



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Lived/Active: California/New Brunswick / Canada      Known for: fine china ceramics

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Hanefa Enylla Wood Saunders (1878 – 1948)

Hanefa (Helen) (1) Enylla Wood Saunders was a well known California ceramic artist and prominent member of the Santa Barbara community.  She lived in Santa Barbara from February 1923 until her death on July 30, 1948. (2 3 4 )

Helen was born on November 15, 1978 in Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada to L. M. Wood and his wife.  Helen moved to the United States with her parents in the early 1900’s. 

Within the field of decorative ceramics, Helen’s focus was on fine china, which she formed, glazed, painted and fired.  Helen also copied and mended ceramic objects as well as taught her craft to others.  An example of her talent is her copy of an entire dinner set of Sevres China containing several hundred pieces.

After meeting Carl and Queen Sammons at the Art League of Santa Barbara (5) in the late 1920s, Helen and her husband (a writer named William R. Saunders) became friends with them.  The Sammons stayed with the Saunders several times during their visits to Santa Barbara. (6)  Queen acquired these ceramic pieces from Helen and they became the subject for one of Carl’s pastels.  

1 Donna Walsh Sumner, 18 Apr. 2008, Telephone conversation with author.  Queen referred to her friend as Helen.

2 Santa Barbara News Press 31 Jul. 1948: A-2 (Obituary), B-2 (Funeral Notice).

3 Edan Milton Hughes, Artists In California 1786-1940 II (San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Co., 1989) 492.

4 Davenport’s Art Reference & Price Guide 2007/2008. (Phoenix: LTB Gordonsart, Inc., a division of LTB Media, 2007) 2068.   

5 Alfred C. Harrison, Jr., The North Point Gallery, San Francisco, California, Santa Barbara Daily News (Santa Barbara, California) October 26, 1929: Hanefa Saunders bought a painting from Sammons at his Art League of Santa Barbara exhibit.

6 Donna Walsh Sumner, Papers of Carl Sammons, Three Santa Barbara News Press newspaper articles, between 1933 and 1948 (the articles reference the Saunders’ address as 831 West Micheltorena St. and, per the Santa Barbara City Directories, the Saunders lived there beginning in 1933 until Helen’s death in 1948).

Written and submitted by Douglas S. McElwain, Copyright © 2008-2014

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Hanefa Enyla Wood Saunders was born in New Brunswick, Canada on Nov. 15, 1878. Saunders settled in Santa Barbara in 1923.  She died there on July 30, 1948.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
City Directory; Death Record
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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