Saturday, January 9, 2010

A little late to the (tea) party...

My new obsession is Eva Zeisel pottery. For those like me, who were unaware, she's not a new designer. One hundred and three years-old to be exact. A little late to the tea party on that one, pardon the pun. But once I learned of her, I was instantly infatuated with her sinuous and whimsical designs, simultaneously mid century and modern. And when I read the story of the 103 year-old designer, infatuation grew to love.

Born in 1906 in Budapest, Hungary to a wealthy and educated Jewish family, she studied art and pottery and in 1932 followed her brother to Russia becoming Russia's Artistic Director for the Porcelain and Glass Industries. However, in 1936 she was sent to prison for 16 months, accused of plotting against Stalin's life. Following her release, she fled to Austria, met her husband, only to have to flee the Nazis. The Zeisels moved to New York where she taught at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and had the first ever one woman show at the Museum of Modern Art.  She is still designing today from her New York apartment.

This brilliant, resilient, and creative woman is an inspiration and I coveted at least one piece. Some pieces are decidedly more 60s, with atomic motifs and orange and green color palette. I was drawn the clean white pieces. I tried to bid on eBay to no avail.  Then I got busy with the holidays and Paris, you know, the usual, and kind of put it on the back burner.  Cut to Christmas day and my little sis and her husband surprised me with Eva Zeisel teapot, creamer and sugar bowl (reproduced by Crate and Barrel). Oh it was on.  I cleared a shelf. I made more room. Yesterday I won an Eva Zeisel Hallcraft vintage tall teapot and five cups and saucers for $56 on eBay.

And then tonight, after deciding to hibernate rather than brave the arctic temperatures, I decided to check out this show everyone's been talking about. Maybe you've heard of it...Mad Men.  I know, considering all the hype about the show and styling, it is a bit surprising that it took me so long to check it out. I get it. Good writing and seriously amazing styling that is just a veritable orgy for the eyes I tell you. I watched five episodes of Season One in a row, commercial free ironically. And there, like a small reward, Eva Zeisel's tea set; and not just one room or one scene, looking as classy and dapper as Don Draper.

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