Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Savoir Faire Quote of the Day

"Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far"
so said Jean Cocteau who knew exactly where the limit was!

Savoir Susie

Susie Cooper ceramic designer extraordinaire was at the forefront of ceramic design from the late 1920’s right through to the late 1970’s. A contemporary of Clarrice Cliff, and not as well known, but still highly collectible, however she was one of the United Kingdom's most prolific and successful ceramic designers. Her career spanned over seven decades and encompassed some of the iconic periods of the Twentieth Century. Most of her designs have stood the test of time and have become design classics within themselves.

Born in 1902 in the Stansfield area of Burslem, Stoke on Trent the virtual home of British pottery and ceramics, she had originally decided to explore a career in fashion, but switched to ceramics and we are glad she did! Susie initially bought in white ware for decorating from various manufacturers, blacking out their factory marks and adding her own, until ultimately moving on to design he own shapes and designs.

Her early designs featured hand painted art deco designs in bold colours that were in tune with period and very similar to Clarrice Cliff’s, she eventually moved on to create some of the most beautiful and contemporary designs of the 20th century in fine china, most notably for Wedgwood. Throughout her career her designs constantly changed to reflect the period. Designs evolved from the bold colours and designs of the 20’s to subtle surrealism of the 30’s to the soft florals of the 50’s , to the refined modern geometrics of the 60’s and 70’s.

Susie worked with Wedgwood through the 1960's and 70's during which time distinct patterns like "Carnaby Daisy," a bright harlequin set based on a simple daisy design, and the vibrant red "Cornpoppy" pattern were amongst her successes.

I love the Cornpoppy” design for its vivid use of colour on the white background. The almost singular motif is one of fluid simplicity, that pairs down the concept of the botanical print, and updates it in a modern form. her rendering of the poppy captures the spirit of the times perfectly. This is immediately at home with today’s design aesthetic. Just as iconic today as it was when it was first created in the 1970’s this is a true classic!

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