We are excited about our next show, “Jim Isermann @ Placewares: Patterns & Products,” for a few reasons. First, Jim is a friend from way back in 2000 when we moved into the small neighborhood of seven experimental steel houses built by Donald Wexler in the early 1960’s in Palm Springs.
Our particular steel-and-glass home had been reduced to - well, just steel and glass. A previous owner had removed all but the two original steel core walls to turn the modular case study house into a “New York loft.” To say we were starting from scratch would be an understatement.
After meeting Jim, though, we lucked into a roadmap for the restoration. Without any hesitation whatsoever, Jim welcomed us - Kevin with a tape measure in hand - into his recently restored home to let us inspect bathroom fixtures, kitchen tiles and cabinets, door hardware, sliding door specs - you name it. And with that a great friendship was born.
We’d spotted Jim’s work in the Los Angeles Times before meeting him, and our affinity for his work began then. Slowly, we ourselves began collecting Jim’s work, though the first piece was a gift to Kevin from Jim on his 30th birthday - a drawing in the vein of the 30 we will be showing.
For Shev’s 40th, Kevin gave himClockfrom 1993 - an 8 x 8 clock built from plywood and containing 78 pieces of swirlware pottery belonging to one of Jim’s best friends, displayed in individual boxes stacked to form each hand of the clock. This piece will soon be installed at our house at The Sea Ranch in a spot selected with Jim.
For Kevin’s 40th, Shev gave Kevin one of the paintings in Jim’s 1985 series,Flowers, which now hangs in the dining room of our house in Pasadena.
But let’s go back a bit. In 2003, the idea of designing products began to take shape. In fact, we spent many nights and weekends sketching out designs for the home and playing with the idea of starting a business to produce these designs. Instead, we turned to architectural restoration as our avocation.
One of the things that has been most exciting about our Placewares involvement, though, is the platform it's created for realizing this long-ago dream and, given the gallery component, doing it with Jim. We approached Jim about working together on a exhibition and product collaboration, to which he (luckily) said yes. The collaboration was made easier given that, the same year we bought our first house at TSR, Jim bought a cabin, Happy Top, in Guerneville.
The initial collaboration consists of 8 products in 21 colorways. These include a nylon and duck canvas bag made in cooperation with Baggu; three ceramic mugs; and three trays, a tray table, a stool, and a coaster set in laminated birch. Each is emblazoned with a mash-up of Jim and Placewares’ logos, designed by our mutual friend, artist Pae White (a future collaborator).
We are so excited to see this show go up. We hope you will join us Saturday, November 26th, from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. for the opening reception. If you can’t make it in person, you’ll be able to see and shop the exhibition here on the website.