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Eva Zeisel - On Design Book Review

I recently finished reading Eva Zeisel's book On Design, The Magic Language of Things.   This is a highly illustrated book full of images of Eva's work and things that have inspired her.  You get the sense that you are looking through the author's favorite scrapbook as some of the images are rather old looking and not of any kind of flashy quality.  Still, you understand the attraction, you know why she was moved by what she saw in each photograph.

She doesn't spend a lot of time telling you what she thinks is right or wrong in design, she just explains some thoughts on design.  She tells the reader what someone might feel when seeing certain design elements and even gives a brief history of recent design trends.

I really loved this book for several reasons not the least of which is that while reading it I really started to think of what I'm doing as designing.  I think of myself as a potter, but what I really am doing is designing pots, designing forms.  The surface decoration whether it be glaze or horse hair or something very different is part of the design. 

The other thing that I loved was the photographs.  It was just another view through another artist eye but many of the pictures were moving.  Not in the sense that an image of a child in a third world country or something like that might move us, but in the way that the simplicity of beautiful things can move us.
I highly recommend reading this book.  The words can be read in an afternoon, but you might want to linger with the images.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery


  1. Discovered her thru her work, a complete set of china for tea.

    The way they looked, felt in the hand......

    Had to know who this woman was. That was over 30 years ago.

    Must get the book.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    1. Tara, you would love her book. Knowing your style and eye in landscaping it's no surprise that you would love her work.

  2. Great review, Lori, sounds like a wonderful book.

  3. I think it was she who was a member of the Budapest, Hungary union of Street sweepers, Chimney Sweeps and Potters. Can you imagine, potters lumped in with the other dirty professions! That always cracked me up....(if I have the correct person :)

    1. Gary - that grouping reminds me of our ATF. Who comes up with these combos & why?

  4. good golly, yes, i got it right, and AMAZING brief look at her life at wiki

    1. Thanks for sending this link Gary, she was an amazing woman. It'd be interesting to discover more about her life. Like Freda, lots to learn.


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