This week is the last week of classes in the Winter Session at the art center where I teach. The focus of our session was “Production Pottery” in which we made dinnerware pieces. As I was preparing for our last class, I began to think about Eva Zeisel, a renowned potter whose dinnerware was made available through industrial reproduction.
Eva Zeisel died on December 30, 2011; and the ceramics world collectively grieved. I read several articles about her shortly after she passed away. She is known in for her beautiful dinnerware – clean, modern, organic, and elegant. It was cast and reproduced for mass market by several ceramic industries.
One of the articles celebrating her life (Zeisel) was reprinted in our local newspaper. Although the author, Lance Esplund, had met Zeisel, he claimed that he mostly knew Zeisel through her work. Esplund said to sit down to a table ‘enlivened’ by her dinnerware was “not to simply dine but to engage with art”… amazing praise for a potter.
There were so many interesting things about this potter – her imprisonment, a long and successful career in ceramics, and her legacy of pots. She made what she loved or re-worked others’ designs all in her “playful search for beauty”. So as this brief session on dinnerware concludes, I am inspired by Eva Zeisel’s endowment to modern ceramics.