I’ll have the blue plate special
Willow Ware china was created in the late 1700s in England and is the origin of the “blue plate special” because these plates were used in restaurants during the 1920s through the 1950s. Featuring a special meal at a bargain price, the meal was served on a blue Willow Ware plate. These designs were “transfer” designs whereby the white plates were imported from China where the original pottery was made; rather than hand- painting a design which was tedious and expensive, a decal was applied to the plate and secured with a super smooth glaze. The attraction of this china were the intricate detailed images applied to cheap china enabling buyers to purchase large sets of dinner ware at relatively lower prices and America was the major
market for this. The name is derived from the classic pattern designs including the willow tree, an orange or apple tree, two birds, people on a bridge, a fence, a boat, and a teahouse (pagoda). The story depicted in the legend: a marriage has been arranged by a wealthy bride’s father named Tso Ling, and the man chosen for his daughter is much older. As life would have it, his daughter named Kwang-se, is in love with another man but her father, in his attempt to keep them apart, builds a high fence around his house; she escapes and runs away to elope with her lover. The people on the bridge represent the father chasing the young couple but they escape to their new home. The jilted fiancé has found them but before he kills them, the gods transformed them into a pair of turtle doves rising above in triumph, the spirits of the two lovers, shown at the top of the plate.
Self-care Ritual: collections bring so much joy, not just in the looking but in the collecting. Where should you start? Begin with the pieces you like and can afford, and then decide if the collection is for the sheer joy of collecting and display or for an investment. But be warned: this pattern has been replicated by over four hundred companies so tracing any of it back to its roots is almost impossible.
P.S. Happy birthday to my younger son. I love you!