|Eva Zeisel designed this set of china - photo by Sara Essex Bradley|
Over the years of her long life (she lived and worked until she was 105) I would see her wares. I never owned any of her designs, but always kept my eye out when I'd be in vintage shops. Yes she made things for Crate and Barrel, and many other modern outlets, but I was more attracted to vintage wares.
|The sensuous undulating curves of Meito Norleans Midas china designed by Eva Zeisel|
A few months ago I came across a set of china designed by Eva Zeisel circa 1949-1950. It was found at one of my favorite shopping haunts, Caravan Finds right here in New Orleans. They had a dazzling set of Meito china.
|Caravan Finds - the china is hanging on the wall in the last picture on the right - You can also find Caravan on One Kings Lane|
|You could get a 101 piece set of Eva Zeisel Meito Norleans Midas for $69.95 in 1954|
Meito is a Japanese company that partnered with United China and Glass Company (founded in New Orleans in 1830) to commission sets of affordable dinnerware exported to the United States in the post WWII years. The result was the Norleans line designed by Eva Zeisel.
|The curved handles are very much like the curves of the iron work in New Orleans - I used trendy CAKE Chrome Gnome salt and pepper shakers made in 2007 - mine are gold and look great with the Zeisel vintage china|
Eva actually spent time in New Orleans, and her Meito Norleans line was very much influenced by what she saw here. Eva tells us, "A Mr. Stolaroff (side note - he was the vice president of the company) asked me to design a set for Meito in Japan...He asked me to go to New Orleans...I remember taking a boat to the tip of the Delta...I photographed many wrought iron crosses in graveyards."
The Norleans line was a hit at the 1950 design shows. In 1954 the American housewife could buy a 101 piece set of this beautiful porcelain for only $69.95! And she also got lagniappe - six extra teacups and a teapot! Even today, in comparison with other vintage china, Norleans is a very affordable collectible.
|The plates and bowls feature a wide rim - The napkin is Trina Turk Palm Springs Block|
The set I am showing is called Meito Norleans Midas. I love the soft color of the gilding, and of course the curves, both on the handles, and on the undulating rims of the pieces, which are classic Eva Zeisel motifs. The pillow top lid on the sugar bowl is a form that became known as the iconic Eva Zeisel belly button design.
The wheat pattern was a very popular motif in Mid Century Modern china made in Japan. I have another set called Eternal Wheat done by Crestwood China and also made in Japan. The Crestwood wheat design is far more delicate. It's pretty, but it cannot compare with the oomph and verve of the Eva Zeisel design.
|Eva Zeisel with one of the rugs she designed for The Rug Company - note her iconic belly button design|
Eva Zeisel just passed away in 2011. She worked until the end of her life. She not only designed ceramics, but also designed a rug collection for The Rug Company, and furniture for Design Within Reach. One day when I am have some extra cash, I would love to have the coffee table she did for DWR.
|One day I will get this Eva Zeisel coffee table|
|Eva Zeisel with her cut out pattern for the design of the coffee table base she did for Design Within Reach|
|I was inspired by her cutting out paper patterns for the coffee table she designed, so I cut out some letters spelling her name and hung them on the chandelier - this photo by Valorie Hart|
There is new book about Eva Zeisel due out any moment, called "Eva Zeisel: Life, Design, and Beauty" by Pat Moore (Author) , Pirco Wolfframm (Author) , Pat Kirkham (Editor) , Brent C. Brolin (Photographer), Eva Zeisel (Introduction).
|Eva Zeisel: Life, Design, and Beauty|
Eva Zeisel was a Hungarian-born American industrial designer known for her work with ceramics, primarily from the period after she immigrated to the United States. Her forms are often abstractions of the natural world and human relationships. Work from throughout her prodigious career is included in important museum collections across the world. Zeisel declared herself a "maker of useful things"
|Young Eva Zeisel a maker of useful things|
|Go HERE to see this touching video clip of Eva Zeisel|
I pre-ordered the book. It not only has her amazing life story, but tons of new photos of her work and snapshots from her amazing life. If you are a fan of Eva Zeisel this is a book you will love, enjoy, and treasure. And I think it's an important volume for every design book library.
|Eva Zeisel never stopped working|
Loving New Orleans as much as I do, paired with loving Eva Zeisel, and added to that my love for beautiful vintage and antique china, you can just imagine how I am thrilled to have and to hold this extraordinary collection of Meito Norleans Midas china.
|Cholo under the table set with Eva Zeisel china - photo by Sara Essex Bradley|
All the lovely photos in my dining room were taken by Sara Essex Bradley. I styled a table setting combining Eva's vintage china with current items. I love her designs and think they are timeless and cross all eras gracefully (much like Eva did in her lifetime). What kind of vintage china do you love and collect?
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