August 13th, 2007
Eva Zeisel’s body of work will be on display in Los Angeles in celebration of the industrial designer’s 100th birthday. The exhibition will run from September 9 to December 30, 2007 at the Craft and Folk Art Museum on Museum Row at 5814 Wilshire Blvd between Fairfax and La Brea. The show is coming from a run at San Diego’s Mingei Museum of Folk Art.
Zeisel is an industrial designer who, throughout the last century, has produced ceramic dinnerware for mass production. Approaching her 101st birthday, she continues to work from her studio in New York. Her strikingly simple organic shapes are so unique and personal, they are being presented at the Folk Art museums (unusual for mass produced items). In addition to dinnerware, Zeisel designs furniture and decorative pieces, crystal and tea pots, many on view at the exhibition.
I’ve come to admire Eva Zeisel’s work through my parents whose collection appears in the exhibition. Years ago they fell in love with some everyday china that had been used in the family in the 1950s. They got curious and, just a little naively oblivious to the fact that Eva Zeisel was already an icon in industrial design, contacted and befriended her. After years of crawling Ebay, thrift stores and estate sales they’ve amassed an extensive collection of her work and a brilliant network of Eva enthusiasts. They even started the Eva Zeisel Forum (formerly the Eva Zeisel Collector’s Club). (They have a Forum site and a site where they post their latest Eva collectibles up for sale).
There are some excellent books on Eva Zeisel. Eva Zeisel, designer for industry is a beautifully produced book with amazing photography. It is out of print but available through Amazon sometimes, so grab it if you can. Eva Zeisel by Lucie Young is a lighter read with a good amount of biographical information. It is a much smaller book but fun. If you want to hear it straight from the designer’s mouth, Eva Zeisel On Design is a much deeper look at the craft of industrial design, presented through various essays and articles by Eva Zeisel herself.
Yea, she’d an icon, she’s in museums and she is producing some very high end work that nobody can afford. But you can still buy her latest work. Nambe is currently selling a very sheik line including polished metal bowls, vases and various wine glasses and goblets. You can see them here.
The one I’m gonna pick up for is the Eva Teakettle, mostly because I really need a tea kettle.
Eva attended the opening in San Diego (which I missed) so I’m hoping she’ll make the LA event!