Born Eva Amalia Striker in Budapest on Nov. 13, 1906, she was the daughter of Laura Polanyi Striker and Alexander Striker. Her father owned a textile factory. Her mother was a historian, feminist and political activist.
In 1923, Ms. Zeisel entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest to study painting. She withdrew three semesters later, inspired by an aunt’s Hungarian peasant pottery collection to become a ceramist. She apprenticed to Jakob Karapancsik, a member of the guild of chimney sweepers, oven makers, roof tilers, well diggers and potters, and graduated as a journeyman.
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