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Homemaker – Enid Seeney – A 20th Century Classic

“Homemaker” A design by Enid Seeney (1931-2011) has become a 20th Century Design Classic.

Homemaker was designed in 1957 by Enid Seeny and Tom Arnold for Ridgway and was sold through Woolworth’s. It had a long production run and was still made as late as 1968 such was its popularity.

The following is an extract from the Obituary for Enid Seeney, written by Simon Moss in the Gaurdian, May 9th 2011.

From an early age Enid had wanted become a designer of surface decoration in the ceramic industry.  She attended Burslem School of Art in Stoke on Trent an  subsequently became the first woman to be trained in the Spode Copeland design studio, before joining a young team of artists at Booths and Colclough, part of the Ridgway group, in 1951. Headed by its director Tom Arnold, this new unit was producing some exciting designs, and Seeney’s Samoa and English Garden were both chosen for exhibition at the Design Centre in London.

Her early work was typified by stylised floral motifs, often executed in pen and ink, and this fine line technique was perfectly suited to the new movements in postwar design, typified by Alexander Calder’s mobiles and the spindly furniture Seeney saw in magazines.

In earlier decades, most plates had rims, but American-style coupe shape plates were coming into fashion, along with new manufacturing techniques, so when she was challenged by Arnold to produce an “all-over” pattern for a plate, Seeney created Furniture. The motifs depicted domestic items, some of which were far beyond the reach of the average family, including Robin Day’s reclining chair and a Sigvard Bernadotte sofa.

It is quite sad to read the rest of the Enid’s story, as she left the industry only 4 months after designing Homemaker, undertaking some mundane jobs never working as a designer again, and didn’t know until later that Homemaker had become such a hit – but she followed its popularity with pride and interest.

I have only ever had a few pieces of Homemaker, pictured below. To see a large variety of the forms and decorations in all their glory go to the V&A Collections website.

Homemaker Plate, Enid Seeney

Homemaker Plate, Enid Seeney

Homemaker Cake Plate, Enid Seeney

Homemaker Cake Plate, Enid Seeney

Homemaker, Cup & Saucer, Enid Seeney

Homemaker, Cup & Saucer, Enid Seeney

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