Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What's old is new again

On all the interior design sites these days, there's talk of 'the grey trend'.  I found these fantastic 60-year-old teacups at the antique market recently that blend in with it perfectly:

The pattern is called 'Aztec' but I think it should be called 'Frogged Yarn', don't you?  Wavy yarn pulled out from a beloved but misshaped sweater project, set over a wistful grey haze of disappointment, while somehow managing to look adorable.

I am crazy about dishes... it's one of the big reasons I try to avoid antique stores, and markets, and houseware departments, come to that.  I love the variety of colours and patterns people come up with for the materials we eat and drink out of, and I love the repetition in a pattern you get when you combine several pieces from a set.  I just don't love finding places to store all the things I gave into and bought.

When it comes to old dishes like these, I'm always particularly excited to look for completer pieces even if I can't afford them - anything to help me figure out what the set looked liked originally.  And in the case of this set, the range was pretty wild!

Of course, I want all of it - not least because the shape of these cups fit perfectly in my hand.  The finish is a big draw too.  It's smooth and cool and curved, just really amazing to touch.  It would be dreamy to have a whole set of it.

Metlox Pottery, the company that produced it and a lot of other cool dishes to boot, closed up shop in 1989 and apparently left behind a 60' x 40' pit of dangerous heavy metals like lead - fallout from the pottery-making process.  So I guess it's like lead paint on cars from the middle of the 20th century - you get an incredible finish at a huge cost to health and the environment. 

I feel terrible about loving the dishes after discovering that little fact, but there you go: flawed human.

The other thing I learned about Metlox is that their biggest competition was the Franciscan pottery.  I have a cool atomic age dish from a Franciscan line, and I can guarantee you, as fabulous as it is there is no comparison when it comes to the touch factor.  I mean, when I saw these cups on a table at the market - the one that changes theme every week, by the way, that week's theme being 'Halloween', so cute!! - I had to pick one up immediately.  I didn't even want to put it down to let the set be wrapped up or anything.  It is that nice to hold onto.

(I'm only a little bit torturing you.  There's a lot of Metlox Poppytrail 'Aztec' pieces for sale on eBay if you want some too.)

I have no idea what we will do with these cups.  They are really too small for tea, in my opinion - I like to get a big cup and curl up in a chair far from the teapot.  I don't drink coffee, as such, and Pete really, really likes making a trip out to Tim Horton's for his.  I bet they'd be cute for a soup starter though, don't you think?

Or maybe I will just keep them as a display item, in the kitchen or in my office, because they do look happy and make me feel that way too, which is never ever a bad thing.

Hope you see something that makes you happy today!


Su said...

I bought 90 pieces of Woods ware 'Jasmine' yesterday, for a ridiculously low price. I love it and want all sorts of pieces. I think this may be a long term project! Tea cups, coffee cups, sweet dishes, breakfast cups, they're all there for the collecting! I only find a way to fund this!

Mary Keenan said...

Holy crow Su what a find!!! Woods ware Jasmine is GORGEOUS and to have so much of it - when can I come over for tea and cookies??

Su said...

I am so pleased to have found it. I have about 4 different types of plates, I don't even know what they're all for! I have seen the most amazing coffee pot with an insulated metal cover which I would love, but I think I would like to get another 2 fruit dishes first ( fruit dishes remind me if my grandma, so that I have 6. I also think a tea pot, sugar bowl and milk jug is in order. When I have those it will be tea (I hope you like it strong) and cake, my daughter makes fabulous cakes. Expect your invite!

Mary Keenan said...

The coolest thing about old sets is that they reflect needs we might not have today - so those four different sizes are a link to how families lived when the sets were designed! Social history: endlessly fascinating. I am with you on the fruit dishes. We used to get creamed corn (!!!) served in small fruit bowls when I was a kid and now I love serving side veg in small prep bowls, so nostalgic :^) Also: I am so all over the cake plan, heh

Marianne said...

I have a set of Poppy Trail "Yellow Daisy" a service for 12, have all the extra pieces with it also.. well except for the tea pot (my favorite piece). That was broken when my sons who were 12 and 25 at the time, decided to play Nerf ball in the house. Both were sitting waiting for me to come home to confess the crime. I have yet to find another, have the tall coffee server, but I sure miss my tea pot! Oh and the reason I have it all is because it was on my wedding wish list back in 1969, what I didn't receive as wedding gifts, my Dad purchased and sent to me. My boys argue about who's name will be beside it in my will.. I laugh and just tell them I am far from gone and besides, they can always break it down to services for 6, I have enough bowls and platters and salt and pepper shakers, LOL.

I love the cups, I've not seen that pattern before. Would be good for stitch marker holders on a table beside your knitting chair.. just a thought!

Mary Keenan said...

I just looked up that set and wow, so cheerful!! And the teapot is adorable, I don't blame you for missing it. You know your boys can totally surprise you with a tea pot for some future mother's day or something, if you drop enough hints, heh

Laurinda said...

I don't have a cool old set of dinnerware. My Blue Willow is a newer release of my favorite plate when I was little. It turns out that I'd rather look at them on my walls than eat off of them (they're very busy)
But your description in the second paragraph is so perfect, that I kind of want a few of those cups for myself now!
I like Marianne's suggestion, to use them for knitting notions, so they're out & in view all the time

Mary Keenan said...

That is such a good point about dishes Laurinda - I like a plate to be a solid colour in the middle too! though I make an exception for cute bunnies, heh. Knitting notions are definitely a great idea and it has also occurred to me: SNACKS. Those teacups are just the right size for portion control!