Alongside her husband Jerome, Evelyn Ackerman (1924-2012) was a leading light in California mid-century modernism. They were contemporaries of the likes of Alexander Girard and fellow married couple, Ray and Charles Eames.
She worked across a variety of mediums including mosaic, textile tapestry, metalwork and enamelware, stone casting and wood carving. They designed, produced and sold their work through their companies Jenev and ERA Industries.
Although mostly available in the United States (as expected), her work can occasionally be found on Etsy and eBay.
Earlier this week, we discovered the designs of Laila Zink (1915-1999) whilst researching the identity of the designer who created a large pottery charger that we’d bought at the flea market. She worked for pottery manufacturers Kupittaan Savi based in Finland. Her work is very distinctive – stylised folk art figures, flowers and landscapes. The elongated facial features and almond shaped eyes of the ladies (and it does usually seem to be ladies) are instantly recognisable. Her pieces are all hand painted and very individual.
We couldn’t find out much information about either her or Kupittaan Savi. A book has been written about the company… however it’s in Finnish. Her work isn’t very commonplace however, there are currently a few examples available on Etsy and eBay.
I went to a Barbara Brown exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester last week. I was already quite familiar with her work, but seeing them up close and in the flesh I was completely blown away!
Seeing images of her designs in books or online can never do them justice. The sheer scale of the many op art patterns – 1¼ metres wide – make the mind boggle!
Originally from Manchester, Barbara Brown attended Canterbury College of Art and then on to the Royal College of Art. It was at her degree show in 1953 that she was discovered by Tom Worthington, Artistic Director of Heal’s. The rest, as they say, is history. She produced many designs for the company (where she was a contemporary of Lucienne Day) in her two-decade career with them. Her designs won the Council of Industrial Design (COID) award on three occasions.
You can usually find lengths of her fabrics (and ready made soft furnishings if your sewing skills are anything like mine) on eBay and Etsy.
Tamara de Lempicka has been a favourite artist of ours for years. Her work isn’t from our usual era – mid century modern – it’s straight out of the Art Deco and Jazz age.
de Lempicka’s work depicts her glamorous life and that of the time in which she lived. She came from a wealthy Polish family and lived a bohemian life, socialising with aristocrats and Hollywood film stars. She married a baron, had affairs with both men and women and travelled extensively, fleeing the Russian Revolution and then World War II.
Her painting style developed and changed throughout her career however, it’s her work from the 20s & 30s that’s our favourite. Portraits of fashionable flappers, open-topped sports cars, cubist skyscrapers. Her execution of fabric – the folds, the ruffles, the shadows – is outstanding!