Georges Briard was born Jascha Brojdo in the Ukraine. Photo: Anthologyhouse.net
Take a quick look around secondhand markets online and off (including Krrb) and it’s easy to see that Jascha Brojdo, or Georges Briard as he is more commonly known, had a way with glass. Born in the Ukraine in 1917, he ended up in Chicago in 1937. Though the world was in turmoil, Chicago was buzzing with design of every sort — something not lost on the young immigrant. Brojdo jumped into art studies at both the University of Chicago and the The Art Institute of Chicago. After earning an MFA he enlisted in the Army and served throughout the war as an interpreter.
After the war, Brojdo landed in New York where he reconnected with art school chum, Max Wille, and started to find his artistic footing. Trained as a fine artist, his first pieces to make it to market were metal serving trays that he hand painted. Wille recognized the potential and pushed Brojdo to investigate mass production and also pushed him to change his name — at least as far as it related to his design work. Design = Georges Briard. Art continued to = Jascha Brojdo.
Needless to say, Briard became the much more recognized moniker due to the eventual mass production of his work. His work was so mass produced in fact that, as Jessica from the blog, There’s No Accounting for Good Taste, states: “Briard designs were so numerous and were produced for so many years that it’s difficult to get through an entire flea market without seeing something he designed, which makes them great entry-level collectibles.”
And there’s the rub. Briard’s designs are undoubtedly special. The care with which they were created is readily evident. But is it too much of a good thing? Has their overabundance made them more akin to Skittles than Mom’s banana bread? Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe Skittles are delicious regardless of how many people have them? Maybe Mom’s banana bread would be just as incredible if it were stocked in grocery stores across the country? It’s possible (but doubtful, due to my Mom’s amazing banana bread).
Still, call me a brat but my attraction to all things secondhand (and all things first hand come to think of it) has been the personal aspect. The idea that, in something’s rarity lies its ability to have a real effect on who we are and what we think. Because when it comes down to it, we are really just a collection of experiences and interactions—each building on top of the other to produce that shiny happy thing we call character. And what fun would the world be if we all had the same character or personality? That’s a rhetorical question, of course.
This has become an issue increasingly worthy of discussion in the internet era where almost everything is ubiquitous. So while I love you Briard, I think I’ll save my pennies for Brojdo.