Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Charles & Ray Eames Helped to Create Mid-Century Modern + Grilled Stuffed Peppers & Hot Chili Peppers

Charles and Ray Eames with the Eames® Lounge Chair and Ottoman.

Mid-Century Modern
Now Showing at LACMA
California Design, 1930-1965: "Living in a Modern Way"
Featuring the living room of Charles and Ray Eames.
Through June 3, 2012 in the LACMA Resnick Pavilion.

Case Study House #8
In L.A. and available for (reservation only) tours through April 30, 2012. The original structural design of the Eames House built in two days using off-the-shelf steel materials from architectural catalogs.

Charles and Ray Eames became leading cultural diplomats for the United States in the 1940's, 50's & 60's. They are well-known for their contributions to furniture design, industrial design, graphic design, film, exhibition design, painting, toy design and architectural design. They approached problem solving as an adventure, combining discipline with a sense of play and were major members of the National Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Eames designed every aspect of their lives: their home, their clothes, their car, their furniture, etc., etc. They were leaders in the American design movement which is now called "Mid-Century Modern."

Charles Eames meeting with President Nixon as a leader
the National Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Ray showing one of her
fabric designs.
Charles Eames, Jr was born June 17 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the nephew of St. Louis architect William S. Eames. At 14, while still in school, Charles became interested in engineering, drawing, and architecture at the Laclede Steel Company. He briefly studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, but after two years he was dismissed for his advocacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and because his views were considered "too modern" for their curriculum.
While at Washington University, he met and married Catherine Woermann. They had a daughter, Lucia. Charles began an architectural practice in St. Louis with partners Charles Gray and Walter Pauley. Eames was greatly influenced by the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinenwhose son, Eero, would become his partner and friend. At the elder Saarinen's invitation, Charles moved his family to Michigan, to the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he taught industrial design. Assisted by Ray Kaise, Eames and Eero Saarinen designed the prize-winning furniture for New York's Museum of Modern Art "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition. The work took advantage of the new techniques in wood moulding developed by Alvar Aalto. The Eames would go on to design many moulded plywood chairs and other furniture plus moulded plywood splints and stretchers for the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Charles Eames' bent plywood Ash Chair.

In 1941 Charles and Catherine divorced and he married his colleague Ray Kaiser, who was originally from Sacramento, California. Charles and Ray Eames moved to Californiaworking and living for the rest of their lives in L.A. 

Ray-Bernice Alexandra Kaiser Eames (December 15, 1912 – August 21, 1988) was an American artist, designer, photographer and filmmaker. In 1933 she graduated from Bennett Women's College in Millbrook, New York, and moved to New York, where she studied abstract expressionist painting with Hans Hofmann. She was a founder of the American Abstract Artists group in 1936 and displayed paintings in their first show a year later at Riverside Museum in Manhattan. In September 1940, she continued her studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She met Charles Eames while preparing drawings and models for the Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition and they were married the following year.

Painting by Ray Eames: To Hofmann, Love from Buddha (1940)

Ray using a Cat Photo as a mask.

Ray Eames
designed this Christmas Card.

Ray Eames fabric design.

(Above) Ray Eames designed her own clothes.
(Below) Ray and Charles Eames in their dark room, 
editing their photography.

John Entenza, the publisher of Arts and Architecture magazine, proposed a series of homes designed to express man's life in the modern world. These homes were to be built and furnished using materials and techniques derived from the experiences of the Second World War. Charles and Ray's proposal was a home designed for a married couple, working in design and the graphic arts -  whose children were no longer living at home. They wanted a home that would make no demands for itself and would serve as a background for a "life in work" with nature as a "shock absorber."

Arts and Architecture Case Study House #8
Main floor Plan by Charles & Ray Eames.

Located upon a cliff at the edge of a meadow, overlooking the Pacific Ocean the house was hand-constructed in two days, entirely with off-the-shelf, pre-fabricated steel beams and windows from industrial construction catalogs. The house remains an amazing milestone in modern architecture.

See EAMES HOUSE TOUR BY RAPPER ICE CUBE at the end of this issue in the Postscript Section. 
(Sources: YouTube, Wikipedia, LACMA, The Eames Foundation, The Charles & Ray Eames House Preservation Foundation, Herman Miller, all images © respective owners or assignees.)

The Charles & Ray Eames House Preservation Foundation is currently raising funds to keep "Case Study House #8", its grounds and the Eames design legacy preserved for future generations. To make a contribution, click on the link:
The Charles and Ray Eames House Preservation Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to preserving and protecting the Eames House and to providing educational experiences that celebrate the creative legacy of Charles and Ray Eames.  Established in 2004, it is a not-for-profit organization officially recognized by the United States IRS as an organization described within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Tax Code.

The famous and still popular Eames Lounge and OttomanIn continuous production since its introduction in 1956, the Eames Lounge Chair is widely considered one of the most significant designs of the 20th century. It was the culmination of Charles and Ray Eameses' efforts to create a club chair using the molded plywood technology that they pioneered in the '40s. In Charles Eames' words, the vision was a chair with the "warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt." 
This original is an authentic, fully licensed product of Herman Miller®, Inc.
Eames® Lounge and Ottoman  $5,449.00 - $6,705.00 USD

The Eameses pioneered technologies, such as the fiberglass, plastic resin chairs and the wire mesh chairs designed for Herman Miller. Charles and Ray moved their interest in photography also into the production of short films. From their first film, the unfinished Traveling Boy (1950), to the Powers of Ten (re-released in 1977), their cinematic work was an outlet for ideas and worked as a vehicle for experimentation and education.

The Eames' also conceived and designed a number of exhibitions. The first of these, Mathematica: a world of numbers...and beyond (1961), was sponsored by IBM.

Charles said, "Eventually everything connects—people, ideas, objects... the quality of the connections is the key to quality 'per se'... I don't believe in this 'gifted few' concept, just in people doing things they are really interested in doing. They have a way of getting good at whatever it is."

Charles Eames died at age 71 on August 21, 1978 from a heart attack while on a consulting trip in St. Louis, MO. Ray Eames died in Los Angeles ten years later, to the day, on August 21, 1988.


A Mid-Century Modern Entree:

Grilled Stuffed Green Peppers
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning blend of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if there is salt in the seasoning mix)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 pound venison sausage (substitute breakfast sausage meat)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground cumin
  • Oil, for frying
  • 3 small green bell peppers (four lobes preferred
Mix the seasoning blend, salt, and wine in a small bowl and stir well. Then combine the mixture with all the other ingredients except the oil and peppers in a mixing bowl and mash with your hands until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Put the meat in the refrigerator for an hour or more to allow the flavors to blend.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and place a teaspoon of the meat mixture in the hot oil. Cook, turning frequently, until done on both sides. Taste, and adjust the salt and seasonings in the remaining meat mixture.
Cut the peppers in half through the stem so that they form six half-pepper cups. Fill each half pepper with meat mixture. Mound the meat no more than a 1/2 inch over the top edge of each pepper. The stuffed peppers can be made in advance to this point and stored covered in the refrigerator for several days.
Light the grill. Cook pepper side down over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, until the pepper is charred and soft. Turn the stuffed peppers over and cook on the meat side for 10 minutes. Test for doneness. Serve immediately with your choice of salsas. These are also great cold or cut into slices for sandwiches.
Variation: Leb-Mex Peppers
Use kebab seasoning such as Sadaf, available in Middle Eastern grocery stores.
Variation: Cajun Peppers
Use a Cajun spice blend such as Tony Chachere's or Zatarain's and omit the salt.
(Source: Epicurious.com) 

While on the subject of peppers, a catalog of red hot chili peppers is in the "Postscript" section below.

Until later,


A List of Chili Peppers & Their Heat:

7 Pot Pepper
This super hot pepper is closely related to the Trinidad Scorpion. Sometimes called 7 Pod, the name, 7 Pot, comes from the claim that just one of these peppers contain enough heat to flavor seven pots of chili. An uncommon and outrageously hot pepper.

Bhut Jolokia
Ghost Pepper
World's Hottest Pepper - Bhut Jolokia syn. Naga Jolokia, Naga Morich, Ghost Pepper are r
ecognized as the world's hottest pepper by Guinness Book of World Records. The Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) is in a class by itself. Measured at over ONE MILLION Scoville heat units, the Bhut Jolokia is deadly hot, nearly twice as hot as the famous Red Savina. Hotter than you can imagine. Here it is by popular demand, but we strongly suggest that you proceed with caution. Fruits are 2 1/2 - 3 inches in length and ripen orange-red to red in color. 

Big Sun Habanero
Big Sun - aka Yellow Sun Habanero
Here by popular demand, the Big Sun Habanero is slightly larger than a regular habanero and every bit as hot. The flavor is somewhat fruity but not overly so. The pods contain few seeds and mature to a golden yellow color. African origin.

Bishop's Crown Pepper
Unique Shape - Medium Hot
Tangy hot and fruity, this pepper is known for its unique shape. Great for salsa, pickling, eaten fresh or dried. Spicy but not super hot, this pepper is a species of Capsicum baccatum, which include the Peppadew and Ají Amarillo peppers. Known by various common names including Bishop's Crown, Bishop's Cap, Bishop's Hat, Monk's or Friar's Cap or Hat and Balloon. 

Black Pearl Pepper

Black Pearl's black foliage and upright, clustered fruit provide a strikingly attractive ornamental display for the summer and fall garden. Compact plants grow to 12" in height. Immature fruit clusters are black in color and will mature to red in approximately 80 days. 

Twice as Hot as Ordinary Habanero

The Carribean Red Habanero has scored up to an incredible 475,000 Scoville Units on the hotness scale, which is rivaled only by the legendary Red Savina Habanero (525,000). Of course, your mileage may vary according to the season and record-high hotness scores are always exceptional. But you can be sure that the Caribbean Red packs a powerful wallop by any measure -- that is, about twice as hot as an ordinary Habanero. As little as 90 days to maturity so is well suited to northern climates. Peppers grow to about 1" in diameter and 1-1/2" in length. 

Chipotle Pepper

This variety is especially well suited for smoking to get that spicy wood taste (pictured). Many uses. Medium hot, 6000 scoville. Fruits are approximately 2-1/2" long.

Chocolate Habanero
'Congo Black'
The notorious "Congo Black" Chocolate Habañero ranks among the deadly few at the top of the heat scale. Fiery hot with a unique, rich flavor unduplicated by any other pepper. The 2" fruits ripen to a gorgeous, chocolate brown. The ultimate salsa pepper. Grows to four feet in height or taller. A real beauty.

Devil's Tongue Pepper

Limited Supply
Thought to be a descendant of the Fatalii pepper, this variety is notably hotter. Devil's Tongue has proven to be a prolific and dependable producer and certainly ranks among the hottest of the super-hots. The flavor is somewhat sweet or fruity, though it can be hard to distinguish flavors when your tongue is on fire.

Dorset Naga Pepper

How hot is too hot?
This is an incredibly super-hot strain of the Naga Morich ("Naga" means snake or serpent and "Morich" means chili pepper). "Dorset" refers to Dorset county in Southwest England, where the hottest and best Naga Morich plants were selectively bred to produce the parent stock of what we have here. Measuring up to around 900,000 Scovilles. These peppers are scorching hot by any measure!


Hot-as-Hell Habanero

Here is the 10-alarm chili preferred by 3 out of 4 devoted pepperheads! Yes, it's hot! Have a taste! Your heart beats faster, your mouth waters, your nose sniffles, your stomach churns, and your head and face break out in a torrential sweat. What could be better? 60 times hotter than Jalapenos -- 300,000 Scoville Heat Units! Distinctive, unforgettable fruity-smoky flavor. The name Habanero means "of Havana." Golden-orange Habaneros will mature in approx 100 days. Often started early indoors. Plants grow 2 - 3 feet in height, peppers are up to 2 inches in diameter. Prefers full sun, good drainage and regular watering.

Holy Mole Pepper

2009 AAS All-America Selections Winner!
A new hybrid pasilla pepper perfect for all sorts of Mexican cuisine, especially mole sauces. 9" long fruits mature to a chocolate brown. Tangy taste just slightly hot, use fresh or can be dried and ground. Produces heavy yields on 36" tall plants.

Georgia Flame Hot Pepper
Spicy, but not too hot, these 8" long peppers are thick and crunchy. Great flavor without overpowering a dish. Unusual variety from the Republic of Georgia. 

Hot Tepin

One of the Hottest....

Tepins are small in size (3/8") but powerfully hot! Pop one of these little fireballs into your mouth and it will have your undivided attention! Unusual growth habit, can reach 4 or more feet in height. A single plant produces hundreds of peppers. Often grown as a container plant in northern areas, tepins are native to desert areas of northern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. Annual or tender perennial, lives for 2 or 3 years. Germination takes longer than most hot peppers.

Jalapeno Chili

By far, America's most popular chili. Dark green, turning red at maturity. The dried and smoked Jalapeno is called "Chipotle," which has also become popular. There are several varieties of Jalapeno. While all Jalapenos are relatively mild as far as hot peppers go, this is the Jalapeno "Hot" variety, about 5,000 Scovilles (10,000 when made into Chipotle). 

Jamaican Red
Scotch Bonnet

Scotch Bonnet peppers are EXTREMELY HOT and closely related to the Habanero but less common. The flavor is slightly different, which some people prefer. This is the RED variety.

Jamaican Yellow
Scotch Bonnet

Scotch Bonnet peppers are EXTREMELY HOT and closely related to the Habanero but less common. The flavor is slightly different, which some people prefer. This is the YELLOW variety, which is generally a bit harder to find than the red.


Marbles is a unique hot pepper that will add a rainbow of color to your garden! Growing to about a foot in height, Marbles produces an abundance of spherical little peppers, each turning a succession of colors as the fruit matures: first yellow, then purple, orange and finally flame red. The marble-sized peppers are edible and spicy but not too hot.

Pretty Purple

Following a show of small purple flowers, Pretty Purple produces loads of edible, extra-hot peppers that change color as they mature from deep purple to yellow to orange to scarlet. Highly ornamental, eye-catching purple and green foliage adds to the appeal. Grows 12 to 18 inches in height. About 65 days to purple fruit and 90 days to red.

Purple Jalapeno Chili

Somewhat hotter than our green Jalapeno (approximately 6,000 Scovilles as opposed to 5,000), yet still fairly mild as far as hot peppers go. Will turn a dark purple and stay that way a long time before eventually turning red.

Red Hot Cherry Pepper
Plants up to 2 ft in height are prolific producers.  Smooth fruits, 1-1/2" across mature from mild-flavored green to medium-hot red.  A favorite for pickling or may be stuffed with cheese and served as a popper.

Tabasco Pepper
The pepper used to make the famous hot sauce takes its name from the state of Tabasco, Mexico, where it was originally cultivated. The peppers have a distinctive flavor and register around 30,000 on the Scoville scale. The fruits are fairly small, 1/2" - 1 1/2" in length -- and unlike most hot peppers, grow in an upward direction on the plant.

White Hot Habanero
White Hot Habanero is definitely worth trying. With a hotness level of 410,000 Scovilles, you too can experience the delightful sensation of having the back of your head blown off. Just kidding (sort of). These novel peppers make a killer white salsa or can be used as you would other habaneros.

Cajun Belle
Sweet Pepper
AAS Award Winner
There’s Cajun flavor in this southern belle. Peppers are both sweet and savory. The fruit look like small bell peppers about 2" x 3" with 3 or 4 lobes. Look for mature green peppers 60 days after transplanting into your garden. When left on the plant, fruit will change color from green to scarlet and finish red, filled with vitamin C. ‘Cajun Belle’ plants produce a high yield of peppers due to vigor and excellent fruit set. Compact plants are two feet tall and wide, a perfect stature for containers.

Whatcom Seed Company, Eugene, Oregon, web site: <


Ice Cube drives Inglewood Blvd. describing the Los Angeles that he knows.

ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2012 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

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