I came across an Eva Zeisel coffee table the other day in my furniture shopping/wanderings, designed in 1993 when she was 87 years old, and remember how discovering her designs was love at first sight.
Eva Zeisel is the definition of a magical mind. She lived to be 105 years old and her work spanned 9 decades. Everything about her life and creative output inspires me, and I've slowly been collecting pieces she designed through the years.
This little cream and sugar set is something I picked up recently; they're from 1961 when Federal Glass added a second Zeisel design to their line in the more modern Stockholm shape. But this set hardly gives you a glimpse of the vast and beautiful body of work that she's known for.
Eva helped usher in the clean and casual shapes of modernist design, but was not afraid of baroque impulses and claimed that her playful quality is how she continued a long life of design without creatively drying up. She considered herself "a maker of things" and in her TED speech said that her intent was to make things more beautiful, elegant and comfortable.
If you want to feel inspired, check out her working life at 102 years old!
Eva Zeisel: Distinguished By Design from Jeremy Bales on Vimeo.
Eva in her studio in 1926
Eva with her "Shamberg" designs in 1930
Eva's dishes featured in Vogue during the 1940s.
In 1946, her all-white modern dinner service – a first by an American designer – was honored with an exhibition at MoMA. She was the first to ever have a one-woman show at the museum.
Eva with one of her designs for Hallcraft in the 1950s
Eva stopped designing in the 60s and 70s and returned in the 80s to work on numerous projects including glassware, ceramics, furniture and lamps for The Orange Chicken, porcelain, crystal and limited-edition prints for KleinReid, glasses and giftware for Nambé, a teakettle for Chantal, furniture and gift-ware for Eva Zeisel Originals, rugs for The Rug Company, one of Crate and Barrel’s best selling dinner services "Classic-Century" and a coffee table and stoneware/dinnerware set for Design Within Reach. She went on to design lamps, furniture, space dividers, wall tiles before passing away in 2011.
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Eva in front of her dimpled bellybutton rug in 2010 when she was 104.
Are you an Eva Zeisel fan? Would love to know your favorite home designer(s)!