Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lea Stein

Is it just me, or is inspiration for ceramics literally everywhere. If you have been following along, you know we are packing. Afterwards we plan on traveling across the country in our motorhome looking for a new place to move and to set up my ceramics studio. While we've been packing I have come across lots of interesting books, curios, mementos, and now an interesting piece of jewelry.

I had completely forgotten about this lapel pin I purchased in an antique store in Hot Springs, Arkansas back in the mid 1990s. The second I saw the piece I loved it. This fox was made by the French jewelry designer, Lea Stein. Lea began her career in the fashion industry in the late 1950s and then in the mid 1960s, with the help of her chemist husband, they developed a process whereby they could laminate fabric in thin layers in a type of plastic called rhodoid.

Of course when I saw my fox pin again I was immediately attracted to the art deco style of the brooch and started thinking about how I could incorporate some of this style into my ceramics pieces. There is so much detail in the black and white and it reminds me of Kitty Shepherd's slip decoration work. I am not sure I would have the patience to do the work Kitty does, but the shape of this piece is attractive and classic and it had me thinking of line and form in ceramics design.

The reverse of the pin is stamped with Lea Stein and Paris and sports the distinctive "V" shape to the clasp. I don't wear much jewelry these days, but I think I should wear this pin the next time I have somewhere special to go. Up next I've found another piece of pottery you might get a kick out of, so come back again real soon.


  1. Thanks for the link Linda. I love this broach, it is very art deco. I have done only one fox on a pot number 5 on the right side of my blog, I have a very old potter friend called Eric James Mellon and he signs all his pots with a fox, he is also the man who paints Jessica (see her profile pick). Maybe I should do a post on him next.

  2. What an awesome pin. Never seen anything like it. Don't wait for "special".

  3. What a wonderful work of art to wear.
    Did you see that there is an exhibition of pins worn by Madeline Albright?
    It is at the Smithsonian. I would love to see it, she wore Pins that suited what she was doing at the time.
    There might be a link--- I'll have to look that up!

  4. i think the inspiration is everywhere... i also think you have a whole bunch of stuff to get appraised on antiques road show

  5. Sweet pin! Love the EYES affect.

  6. Hi Kitty, the pattern on the fox reminds me of your rays, only these are square patterns on the fox. There is something so endearing about fox I think, they are beautiful animals. I would love to read a post about Erick Mellon.

    Hi Meredith, no I didn't see that about Madelain Albright, I will look for the info - how interesting, thanks.

    Hi Gary, thanks, ever done a fox on one of your pots?

    Hi Jim, thanks, I looked this one up, but it isn't worth a whole bundle of money. I am still waiting to find that one item that sets me up for life - dreamer that I am.

    Hi Mary, thanks, the design is so simple yet so effective. If you do a search of her work, she has so many pins she made that are so wonderful.

  7. Hi Patti, thanks, any day out is a special one to me, so it won't be long before I wear it.

  8. Wow, what a cool pin! I haven't ever seen anything like it -upon a closer look, it almost has a snake skin like pattern to it. Great how the artist flipped the tail for movement.

  9. Hi Cindy, thanks, yes the pattern is almost mesmermizing, I love her work, beauty and simplicity all in one.

  10. Linda, I hope the packing and moving are going smoothly. I have moved 35 times and I still hate it.
    Hope your new direction helps you make lots of great pottery and eases the burden. Joan T

  11. Hi Joan, thanks, so far so good with the moving and all. Since you're only 35 you must have moved every year of your life and that's a lot - and I thought I moved a lot. I think things will work out for the better after this move and at least we will have a little relaxing time without all the stress of all we have been going through here, that's for sure. I have so many ideas for clay I can't wait to get started on them but must take my time and find the right place to move. I might have to take a ceramics class somewhere just to be able to work with the clay while we are looking.

  12. Hi Linda,

    I don't know if you listen to NPR, but they did a story on Madeleine Albright and her pins that she would wear. Well, I was on the NPR website looking at the gallery and lo and behold, there was you fox pin!!! She had it in a different color, but it is the same pin. I couldn't believe it!

    It is picture #9:

  13. Hi Jerry, thanks for the link, that is so cool; I love her other pins too and the story behind them.


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