About the artist

Artist statement

My figurative work tends to focus on movement and dance expressed in carved and gilded polychrome wood sculpture or lustre fired clay sculpture.

My work as a gilder on wood has struck me as a magical process and that magical process has lead me into the alchemy of making gold on ceramics. This lustre in glaze technique on earthenware ceramics is often unpredictable and one is never sure to struck gold. Both technics; water gilding and lustre glazes are ancient crafts and form a link from the past to the present.

The works on paper tend to be linoleum reduction print or dry point on copper plate and paper cut work that is the Swiss tradition of a ‘Scherenschnitt’.


Isabella Kocum was born in Switzerland to a Swiss – Austrian Family. Growing up in a musical family she started to study dance at aged 5 and this became a lifelong passion.

In 1979 she went to the Art School in Bern, specializing in gilding and graduated three years later.

Motivated by her then dance teacher Alain Bernard she moved in 1982 to New York to train at the Alvin Ailey Dance School Horton technique, also training with David Howard in classical ballet and studied acting at the HB Studio.

In 1988 she was awarded a scholarship for Dance at the Cite des Arts in Paris.

In 1990 she moved to London and after a life in dance she returned to her gilding career and started with a teaching position at the City Lit and also worked as a frame restorer at Fine Frames for Riccardo Giaccherini, before she took up employment as a frame conservator at the National Gallery in 1995. There in 1997 she met the artist in residence the sculptor Ana Maria Pacheco. She works occasionally on Pacheco’s sculpture and is responsible for the gilding. Their friendship proofed fruitful in encouragement for Isabella to create her own works.

In 2008 she took up ceramics and studied in Lewisham Art House thought by Shirley Stewart. She learned lustre glaze technique under Myra Toth at the Beatrice Wood Centre for the Arts in Ojai California.


National Original Print Exhibition, London / Print – 2014

Atelier Deux, Bern, Switzerland / Print and Ceramic – 2014

BAR Gallery, London / Print – 2015

Atelier Deux, Bern, Switzerland / Print and Ceramic – 2015

Salon des Refusés, Space Gallery, London / Print 2015

The Clay Studio, Philadelphia USA/ Ceramic  2015

Three Lustrous Women; Sooz Glazebrook, Myra Toth and Isabella Kocum @ Gallery 525, Ojai, California USA / Ceramic 2016

Gallery 525 feature several artist, Ojai, California USA 2017



Minor contribution to The Encyclopaedia of Picture Framing Technics by Robert Cumming  – 1993

Imaging Science Journal, A New Century for Frames – 14/05/2012


Art workers Guild



Cite des Arts, Paris , Scholarship for Dance – 1988