Archive for the ‘craft art’ Category

Eva Zeisel…   Leave a comment

…now here is a woman who has crossed many a border:

from Hungary to Germany to Russia to Austria and eventually the US…

from painting to pottery to design that shaped the look of modern homes.

Today’s New York Times feature includes this:

“By 1935, she was working in Moscow as the artistic director of the Russian republic’s china and glass industry. On May 28, 1936, she was arrested, falsely accused by a colleague of conspiring to assassinate Stalin. She was imprisoned for 16 months, mostly in solitary confinement, an experience that Arthur Koestler, a childhood friend, drew upon in writing his celebrated 1941 novel, “Darkness at Noon.”

Again, Ms. Zeisel’s eyes were opened. “You feel the difference first in the way you see colors,” she wrote later of the deprivations of prison.

At 105 she has crossed  another threshold.


Asked how to make something beautiful, she once replied, “You just have to get out of the way.” (this, too, from the NYT piece)



Posted January 1, 2012 by leeadairlawrence in Ceramics, craft art


When we learn art history — or anything for that matter — we get it served up in neat little categories which makes it all so much easier to digest.  And then, little by little,  it becomes clear that those neat little compartments aren’t quite as distinct as we thought they were.  That behind every new style, every technical innovation, every discovery there is a criss-crossing of conversations, exchanges, observations…

Looks like a Chinese porcelain bowl? Well, it is made of glass by 18th-century Italian Francesco Vezzi in Venice, Italy (1720-1724).

That’s what I find so enchanting about a show at the Corning Museum of Glass:  “East Meets West: Cross-Cultural Influences in Glassmaking in the 18th and 19th Centuries” is all about far flung artists and artisans learning from each other.   I highlight some of these connections in my review in the WSJ and you can read more about it on the museum’s web-site.



Posted August 12, 2011 by leeadairlawrence in Asian art, craft art, glass, glass, museum shows

Chinese cloisonné: just decorative or also art?   2 comments

Ming dynasty (1450-1550) touhu (or arrow) vase

Here’s the ultimate decorative arts medium — cloisonné — and new evidence that Ming Chinese scholar-artists might have prized it the way they did their craggy scholar’s rocks and understated ink paintings. The Economist has a great review of a show of cloisonné at the Bard Graduate Center; I also reviewed it in the Wall Street Journal.

Qing dynasty basin from the Brooklyn Museum

The rare white cloisonné basin to the left was used for Buddhist rituals — if you could look inside it, you would see that the wires trace the outline of Buddhist symbols.  The vase on the right with its fiery lotus flowers reminiscent of Tibetan paintings is a small copy of an ancient form.  The story is that ancient warriors would take a break and play a game of toss-the-arrow, using an empty wine jug.  I like to picture Ming scholars and rulers tossing ink brushes into the touhu rather than just displaying them on their desks as objets d’art.

Posted February 13, 2011 by leeadairlawrence in Asian art, craft art, museum shows

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