From their start as a couple, Charles and Ray expressed keen interest in education, involving clear, concise communication of ideas as expressed through their films, exhibitions, graphic design, toys, house, and even their furniture.
The success of their transmission of information can be seen in the enduring success of their varied projects: Powers of Ten (film), Mathematica (exhibition), Eames Elephant and House of Cards (toys); and furniture still in production by their two authorized dealers: Herman Miller and Vitra.
It bears notice that films made over 60 years ago are still requested by museums and film festivals around the world. And that their exhibition, Mathematica, was just recently restored by the Henry Ford Museum, and can be seen as well in Boston. And let’s not forget their toy designs: the Eames elephant continues to be released by Vitra in multiple materials and sizes.
The Eameses often spoke of the importance of “learning from primary experiences”—something that they incorporated into many of their exhibitions—which helps to explain the longevity of Mathematica.
Carla Hartman, Director of Education at the Eames Office, first developed Chair Camp in 1998 when she worked as an educator at the Denver Art Museum. For several years, the camp was structured as an all-day, week-long class for 9-12 year-olds. Since then, it has taken many forms and has been presented to a variety of audiences in cities and countries across the globe. One constant has been the presentation of Charles and Ray’s oeuvre as well as their principles for work and play as a framework for discussion about chair designs.
Eames Paper Elephant
You can celebrate the Eames Elephant—as well as the legacy of creativity and exploration that it represents—by decorating a miniature elephant of your own out of paper. Simply print this template and cut out the three forms (elephant head, body, and base). To create a sturdier elephant, use your printout as a template and trace it on to thicker paper or card stock. Before assembling your Eames Elephant embellish it with an array of materials, from markers and colored pencils to glitter and colored tape. Once your creation is complete, share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #myeameselephant!
The Eames Office expanded upon Charles and Ray’s idea by developing the Create-It-All deck of cards as an imaginative, collaborative and educational teaching tool for people of all ages to enjoy.
So, unfetter your creativity! Decorate the cards with drawings, inspirational words, or three-dimensional designs. Then, explore the endless ways to assemble the cards: Create towers, houses, bridges, and most importantly, new meaning and connections with each card that you add. Create-It-All is a perfect activity for holidays, birthday parties, school, or business brainstorming sessions. Or stay at home and enjoy it with family and friends.