maker of useful things

Goodbye to the "maker of useful things", Eva Zeisel died just shy of 2012 at 105. 

via Talisman Brolin

ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE and she was still designing!!!!! (with the help of her design assistant Olivia Barry)  Now that is true love.

You may not know Eva Zeisel's name but I'm sure you'll recognize some of her work.

One of Eva's most famous designs are her Town and Country Salt and Pepper Shakers, meant to be a representation of a mother and child.  The shakers were designed in 1945 and remain in MOMA's permanent collection.

via MOMA

The Classic Century Dinnerware collection designed by Eva in 1952 is now manufactured by Crate and Barrel.  I LOVE this collection, my favorite piece is the sauce boat, so graceful and elegant.

Design Within Reach carries the Eva Zeisel Coffee Table, a simple and striking silhouette.


Another beautiful set of salt and pepper shakers that you might recognize are these black and white birds she designed in 1953.

Well if these don't ring any bells that's even better.

I love to share something new with you!

Plus this is sort of a wild story, so much happened to one person in 105 years! Eve was primarily a potter, she was educated in her home country of Hungary by a master potter before being commissioned by German Ceramic Manufacturer, Schramburg- pushing her from studio artist to industrial designer- which was pretty amazing for a woman at that time. 

(I love this picture, it seems to show an emotion I feel quit often as a person trying to create things.)

Eva moved to Germany 2 years later and then inspired by a visit to Ukraine moved to Russia where she really refined her signature style and gained quite a bit of success.  In 1935 she was named the Artistic Director of the Soviet Ceramics and Glass Industry (Go Eva!) and maintained this position until she was falsely imprisoned for conspiring to kill Joseph Stalin. After 16 months, 12 of those spent in solitary confinement, Eva was released without explanation- I can't even imagine what this must have been like, going from prestigious position to sketchy, communist prison.  Eva promptly moved to Austria and then England where she reunited with soon to be husband Hans Zeisel, the couple moved to New York in 1938.


Mrs. Zeisel quickly secured a position at Pratt teaching ceramics as industrial design.

Eva's warm, modern and clean style as well as her personal philosophies (the playful search for beauty) and the marketability of her products solidified her position as a design icon, forever impacting design history.  So many have been inspired by Eva, modern potter Jonathan Adler said of Eva, ''I consider her the grande dame of organic modernism,"  ''I find her tremendously inspirational."

part of a collection commissioned by Bombay Saphire (above)

this one is called belly button!  The pieces connect to make a room divider.

A print from the lover's Suite series, a collaboration with KleinReid.


Eva was the first woman (1946) to have an exhibit solely dedicated to one artist at the Modern Museum of Art, where several of her pieces are part of their permanent collection.  Eva received hundred of awards over her 80 year career but the most prestigious of all Eva's accolades came in 2005 (Eva was 99) when she received the National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Design Museum, Smithsonian.

I want to be this lady!  What an amazing career...

When asked why beautiful things are important Eva's answer is, "Beautiful things make people happy."

I guess there is no better reason to make them.:) 

Headed to the studio in pursuit of the creation of beautiful things...


If you are interested in hearing more from Eva here are a few videos you might want to check out (particularly this first one- so inspirational)...