The mid-20th century was a great time for the manufacturing industry. Advancements in machine technology and plastics created opportunities for production that had previously only been dreamed of. Compared with the robotic machinery of today, however, mid-century machines required a great deal of hands-on activity.
Take the Modernica Fiberglass Chair Factory for instance. These machines were originally developed by Zenith Plastics in 1949. Although the fiberglass molds and presses allow for a more streamlined production process, the decades-old machinery requires a lot hands-on assistance, and can only produce two chairs at a time. The result is an incredibly authentic product with slight variations in texture and color.
Here’s a closer look at the process. Note how our technicians are involved in every step of the process, treating each chair as a project of its own.
The post Exploring the Craft of Pressing Fiberglass with Mid-Century Machines appeared first on Modernica Blog.
Photo courtesy of Plum Tree Pottery.
Maija Grotell studied ceramics in Helsinki before migrating to New York in 1927. The ceramicist taught at various schools and entered her work in small shows and exhibitions over the next 10 years, slowly becoming more recognized for her impeccable ceramics work. Her big break came along when Eliel Saarinen invited her to become head of the ceramics department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Maija Grotell and Nelly Beveridge at work in the Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1940. Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.
Cranbrook is considered by many to be epicenter of the early 20th century modernist movement. Grotell taught there for 30 years, during which time she worked with sculptor Carl Milles, designer Eero Saarinen, and many other prominent figures in the world of art and architecture. Some of her finest work was accomplished during this time. Besides her many, many ceramic works, she also helped Eero Saarinen develop the brilliantly-colored brick glazes that are still present on the walls of the 1965 General Motors Technical Center.
She continued to influence the practice of mid-century ceramics until she retired in 1966. Today, her works are prized and represented in the permanent collections of museums across the world.
General Motors Technical Center with glazed brick walls – Warren, Michigan, 1965. Photo courtesy of Curbed.
Glazed stoneware, 1940. Photo courtesy of the Met Museum.
Painted vase, 1940s. Photo courtesy of Worthpoint.
Vase, 1940s. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Lindley Martin Ceramics.
Vase in mottled glaze, 1950s. Photos courtesy of Worthpoint.
Vase, 1952. Photo by Jack Ramsdale.
Glazed stoneware vase, 1950s. Photo courtesy of Live Auctioneer.
Glazed Ceramics, 1950s. Photo courtesy of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum.
Glazed stoneware, 1950. Photo courtesy of the Moderne Gallery.
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The post Masters of Mid-Century Ceramics: Maija Grotell appeared first on Modernica Blog.