Whenever I see anything from the designer Eva Ziesel, I smile. Myron Nmi Johnson of Great Lines Modern brought a nice sized collection of Hallcraft Fantasy to the Opener.

I first found out about her researching a pair of Shmoo Salt & Pepper shakers we acquired in the Town and Country pattern.  (we used to do a bit of china replacement).

She was an incredibly accomplished designer and ceramicist with pieces in museums across the world. She passed away 5 years ago at the age of 105. She  had her first  design produced in 1928, her last in 2010.  

She apprenticed to the last Hungarian pottery master of the medieval guild system. Her journeyman training took her to Germany then Russia where she would be named the artistic director of the Soviet china and glass industry. In 1936 she was falsely arrested for plotting to assassinate Josef Stalin, I’m sure she didn’t want to kill him, she just wanted to scare him. He had her put away for 16 months, with a year of it in solitary.  After her release she would then move to Vienna only to flee from the Nazi invasion, bringing her and her husband to the U.S with less than $100 in their pockets. 

 As an immigrant in post war America she would have to prove her self all over again. Her and her husband both taught. She taught at a design school and he was a Law scholar. He would later become a law professor at the University of Chicago.  In 1947 she designed “Town & Country” for Red Wing Potteries. I think this set is that bridge’s the gap between Russell Wright’s American Moderne and Franciscan Starburst. She would go on to create many other dinnerware lines as well as furniture and home decor. Crate and Barrel even re-issued designs of hers and are available today.  

See you in May! 

Jim 

References

Hallcraft Fanstasy

Retro Renovation – Eva Ziesel 

Eva Ziesel Wikipedia

MCM Daily 

Vintage Garage Chicago Eva Ziesel Fantasy Midcentury dinnerware Modern red wing town & country porcelain pottery
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