Crate & Barrel has introduced a housewares collection by a little-known designer and artist named Eames. Lucia Eames.
Ms. Eames, who died in 2014 at 83, was the only child of the extremely well-known industrial designer Charles Eames by his first wife, Catherine Woermann. With this collection, Crate & Barrel has positioned her as a hidden talent, bearing her heritage like precious cargo waiting to be unloaded. The objects include candlesticks, glassware, ceramic plates, serving trays and Christmas decorations — none of which she actually designed, although they display her unique graphic sensibility.
Until now, Ms. Eames has been recognized mainly for managing her father’s legacy and that of his second wife and design partner, Ray Kaiser Eames. It was Lucia (pronounced LOO-sha) who, after Charles’s death in 1978 and Ray’s a decade later, inherited the couple’s cache of more than a million letters, photographs, films, sketches and prototypes, donating most to the Library of Congress and the Vitra Design Museum, in Germany.
MillerKnoll, that produces Eames furniture. “She was always about making something visually pleasurable.”
“Even though she wasn’t a textile designer, she understood what we were doing and was definitely a participant and equal in the process,” said Mary Murphy, the senior vice president of design at Maharam (also now part of MillerKnoll), who worked with Ms. Eames in the late 1990s on developing fabrics based on Eames patterns.
“There’s a bit of Ray, isn’t there, in these hearts?” asked Pat Kirkham, the author of the 1995 book “Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century,” after seeing photos of the Crate & Barrel goods.
According to Ms. Kirkham, Lucia had a particularly formative summer in 1946, when she was 15, and she and a friend made the trip from St. Louis, where she lived with her mother, to spend time with Charles and Ray in Los Angeles. There, Lucia took classes at the Actors’ Laboratory Theatre and studied painting with Ray.
Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, a nonprofit that is now putting on its fifth online exhibition of Eames designs and collectibles, and will eventually host research fellows.
“I had a mother who bought me my first steel-toed boots, so I could work in the studio with her when I was very young,” Llisa recalled.
Lucia, Eames Demetrios said, was “a complex little piece of humanity” — a description of his mother that he borrowed from a great-grandmother.