Here at O.W.L. we’re clearly quite taken with the NGV’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces theme this year. One of the things – just one – I fell in love with when I saw the Art Deco exhibition was the crockery set Frank Lloyd Wright designed for the Imperial Hotel in Japan.
Image from the 2006 Taschen design calendar, via Narisa on Flickr.
As well as the hotel building itself, he designed some lovely things to fill and furnish it, including lovely blue armchairs, this striking yellow chair and the dinnerware pictured above. I read somewhere that the design of the cups was intended to hide the lipstick stains of (right-handed) ladies in those terrible days before indelible lipstick existed, which sounds very sensible but also a little bit like rubbish – the academic in me needs a reputable citation before I go believing that.
Thanks to modern manufacturers and the internet, I can now have a genuine reproduction set for myself – just US$48 for a set of four plate or mugs at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation online store. Sadly the reproduction mugs are not as nice as the original cups, so I may have to bid on a full 56-piece original set, as soon as I find myself US$3000 or so.
Art Deco exhibition at the NGV
Still on – until October 5
Open every day 10am-5pm (open until 9pm on Wednesdays)
More info: Arwen’s write up
:: Kate ::
Do you remember when you were a kid and one day at school (perhaps kindergarten) you got to draw a picture, then after an interminable wait it came back, slightly paler, on your very own plate? Oh, the pride!
I don’t know about you, but even my bestest Grade 1 efforts are shown up by these modern Melamine masters:
Above is The Middletons plate set by Marco Cibola at Poketo, US$40 for the set. They’re also available at Little Salon, Melbourne, but I’m not sure of the price (I was desperately trying to resist temptation).
There is such a gorgeous array of plates online at French Paper that I had a hard time choosing what to show you, so these (the birds above; deer, meaty cuts and faux wood below) are to whet your appetite – many more here for around US$9 each.
For the traditional yet monochromatically inclined among you, Thomas Paul has this Gothic doily set (below, US$30 at Velocity). Arwen has seen these for sale somewhere locally, so she might be more helpful than me here. (If you’re a glutton for Melamine design, check out these too – darn, they’re sold out.)
If after all that you’re still keen on stick figures and rainbows, you can DIY here for about $25.
:: Kate ::
P.S. French Paper are first and foremost a (beautiful) paper shop, but their Pop Ink giftware section has both Melamine and non-Melamine delights. They’re almost a blog post in their own right…
What is it about regional secondhand shops? They’re goldmines. The obvious answer is that they’re not picked over by eagle-eyed “vintage” retailers, but I like to think there’s just a certain quality of goods in the country, much like the quality of the vanilla slice I had yesterday morning at Annie Smithers Bistrot in Kyneton, which was far better than any I’ve had where the tram lines run.
In any case, the Mill Markets warehouse in Daylesford is technically a conglomeration of those aforementioned eagle-eyed “vintage” retailers, but as there must be at least 100 of them spread over the space of a whole warehouse and a half (it’s pretty much mecca for those of us so inclined), prices are kept somewhat competitive. And there’s a lot to choose from.
I had to stop myself buying more teacups than I could feasibly use (or break) in a lifetime, even if some of them were melamine and in absolutely lovely blues and yellows.
Daylesford Mill Markets, open 10am-6pm every day, 105 Central Springs Rd, Daylesford, Victoria.
:: Kate ::
Beautiful, simple designs from Etsy seller Bailey Doesn’t Bark…
The Shhh series (the sleeping birds) comes from creator Re Jin Lee’s “fascination with the positions in which people manage to sleep in when completely knackered”. Cute! I love the lines in the one with the black birds.
You can see more of Re Jin Lee’s illustration at http://www.rejinlee.com/itsrjlee.html (I love this oyster one) and more porcelain pieces at the Bailey Doesn’t Bark Etsy shop.