When Ray Eames entered this textile design in a 1947 competition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, she titled the print “Brown and Black Free Shapes on a White Ground.”
One might find the title a bit uninspiring, in light of the whimsical, other worldly creatures vacillating across the fabric. But considering Ray’s background in Expressionist painting—she trained with Hans Hofmann—the title makes perfect sense. Ray would have been more concerned with the basics of shape, color, and scale. And, perhaps, she would have expected others to be more impressed with her execution of these elements than with the vibrancy and character of her “Sea Things”— the name by which the textile is commonly known.
Whether you are compelled by the brilliance of her abstract composition or by her fanciful creatures, one thing is clear. “Sea Things” is yet another example of the creative, playful, and colorful mind of Ray Eames.