A Maker of Things

The legendary Eva Zeisel reflects on some of her iconic designs.

Eva Zeisel—one of the great modernist designers of the last century—turns 105 on November 13. In 2005, she won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Her ceramic dinnerware is in the collections of the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. Companies like KleinReid and Design Within Reach already carry her work; Leucos and Wexel Art will produce her designs later this year. She doesn’t like the term “industrial designer” but prefers to call herself “a maker of things,” and she is doing just that. A lamp that she first designed for a restaurant a few years ago is going into production, and will be available from Leucos next year. This fall, she’s publishing a memoir about her time in prison (in 1936, in Moscow, she had a run-in with Stalin, who imprisoned her for 16 months). She spends most of her time near Nyack, New York, these days, where we asked her to speak about her work.

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