Remembering Designer Eva Zeisel

Jan 2, 2012
Originally published on January 2, 2012 9:53 pm
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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

A moment now to remember a woman who captured the world in graceful lines and sensuous curves. Eva Zeisel was a renowned ceramic designer. She died on Friday at the age of 105. Seven years ago, Zeisel was profiled on NPR, still hard at work at age 98.

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BLOCK: Over her long career, Eva Zeisel's ceramics could be found at The Museum of Modern Art and at Crate & Barrel. Her tableware has playful, rounded shapes, inspired by the human form, that she intended to feel good in your hand.

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BLOCK: Eva Zeisel was born in Hungary to an intellectual Jewish family. She was drawn to pottery at an early age. And in her 20s, she moved to Stalinist Russia, where she became artistic director of the state's china and glass industry. But then in 1936, Zeisel was arrested, falsely accused of conspiring to assassinate Stalin. She was imprisoned for some 16 months, much of that time in solitary confinement. When she was released from prison, Zeisel went to Austria, only to flee as the Nazis invaded. Ultimately, she made it to New York, where her design career flourished. Zeisel called herself a maker of useful things.

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BLOCK: Designer Eva Zeisel died peacefully at her home in New City, New York, at age 105. She was still designing, by the way, nearly to the end. A new line of glass lamps is due out early this year. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.