Ceramic Designer Eva Zeisel passed away last week at the age of 105. She died after an almost 90 year long career, in which she designed over 100,000 objects and led a remarkable life that started in Hungaria, and brought her via Russia to the USA. She settled in Rockland County, New York, where she spend the last 50 something years of her life. Eva’s life and her work where extraordinary. Driven by curiosity and passion, she didn’t follow trends and had a rather humble mission: ” I hoped my designs would give pleasure to the user when he had time to notice them, and yet recede when he was too busy or tired.” In her playful quest for beauty, she was trying to tell us that design should communicate. With us. And with each other. That things have emotional effects on us. That everyday objects can and should be soulful friends.
Eva was not about the absolute, and certainly she didn’t display the self hailing coldness and exclusiveness I pity in many artists. She insisted on making her designs available to the masses, not just a select few. To this day you can buy some of her work at Crate + Barrel. ( yep) Her life and art was all about being inclusive.
As a Creative I love this quote, one that I have very much internalized: “One has to learn not to take themself too seriously, not to overly respect one’s designs. What ever you aim at and whatever you produce, there are always many more possibilities.”
Her work is very much in my life, and makes my smile when I look at it. The way she lived is very much in my life as well. Eva never stopped working, even at 105 years old she was still designing. She showed me that we can just keep going and create, up until the end.
So long and Good Bye Eva. Thank you for all you left behind!
Photo: a typically morning set up at my table with Eva’s Salt + Pepper Shakers always standing by. She designed these in 1946.