DISHES AS DECOR, PART 3 – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I use all kinds of plates and dishware as decorative elements all over my house. It makes sense in the kitchen and dining areas, but I also use them in my bedroom and bathroom and in my bookcases.

This is an arrangement of prints and plates on my small bedroom wall

On the large wall of my bedroom, I used a mid-century mirror from the Algonquin Hotel in NYC as the centerpiece. I surrounded the mirror with prints and plates to create a large vignette across the entire wall.

Long shot of the wall
This is my ‘toilet room’, as you can see by the toilet paper holder in this decorative vignette
This is a decorative baker’s rack used to display plates and chatchkus in the bathroom
Whimsical teapot and teacup in my bookcase
Teacups and matching dessert plates used with bookends to create a fun moment in my bookcase

DISHES AS DECOR, PART 2 – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I love to use all kinds of dishes and serving pieces as part of the decor in my home. I find it’s an inexpensive way to fill the walls and the shelves all over the house.

In Part 1, I showed you the kitchen area, where you would be most likely to find dishes as part of the decor. Now we’re moving into my family room, my dining room, and my foyer, where I also use decorative plates and other dishes, such as candy dishes.

These plates are in the wall cabinet in my dining room. I use the other dishes from these sets when I have company.
One of my favorite mid-century candy dishes used in the hanging shelves in the dining room
These two mid-century candy dishes are in the large, decorative bookcase in the family room
Red and blue mid-century candy dishes accent my artwork in the family room
This Crate and Barrel platter works beautifully with my art deco decanter and a modern glass box in my foyer. They sit on a 1906 stove with a glass top over the burners.

DISHES AS DECOR, PART 1 – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Growing up, we had some beautiful sets of China that we actually used to eat on. My mother also displayed pieces of her china sets whenever possible. So I love dishware and always try to buy interesting and beautiful pieces for meals, but also to use as part of the decor. It is an inexpensive way to add interesting chatchkas to your home – and my home is full of chatchkas, often arranged into decorative vignettes.

Here are some of the dishes I’ve used in my kitchen, eating area and sun porch, on shelves, on tables, and on the walls.

This cabinet is mostly decorative and I rarely use those items.
This cabinet is totally functional and houses my everyday dishes and cups.

I also use plates as wall decor.

The same fish plates used on top of the cabinets above the stove area in the kitchen

I still have many of my mother’s and my old china sets that are too country or too formal for my homey but modern house today. They also don’t fit in with my mostly aqua and turquoise color scheme. But I still love them and want to share them with you.

Formal dessert set I got for my first wedding in 1974
The charming and less formal set I bought for my first home in New York City in 1974 (from Italy)
My favorite of all my mother’s china sets which we used in our summer, country style house in CT

PRICELESS

There was a time when many items in my world were priceless. Many of them were items without significant dollar value, but they had great emotional or sentimental value. Then came a time when I realized these priceless things had morphed into dust collectors. I enjoy them, but they are long past priceless and have become part of the stuff I will I would happily give to someone who would treasure them — and dust them — rather than me.

Antique Famille Rose porcelain plate
Very old Han pot, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.)

Funny thing about the way things change. The stuff that was priceless becomes clutter. Attractive, elegant clutter. Much of it becomes burdensome instead of priceless, unless priceless also means no one is willing to pay to take it away. I suppose that might be another interpretation.

Now, life is priceless. Maybe, honor, too.

ONE JAPANESE TEA SET OVER THE LINE

Garry went to New York to help clean out his parents home on Long Island. He went with my explicit instructions: do not bring home anything. We have no room. NO ROOM. None. Anywhere. Not on the shelves, the cabinets, the tops of the bookcases. Nowhere.

He was pretty good about it. All he brought home was one lovely Japanese tea set. Five cups. I assume one was broken. Plus the teapot, sugar bowl, and creamer. Lovely. Dragon style, which is a favorite of mine.

Not long ago. I gave away a nearly identical tea set as a wedding present, but clearly I am supposed to have a Japanese tea set. It must be a genetic thing. This is not my first … or fifth … Japanese tea set. I have had antiques. New ones. Sets made for children. Many sets made in weird shapes which were surely never meant for the actual serving of tea.

I recognized that I could not escape this tea set. I rearranged the stuff in my glass chest and somehow managed to fit it in. I’m so glad there were only five cups. One more, and I would have been lost.

It’s a beautiful set. Made of the finest porcelain so lightweight it’s almost not there. Beautiful, but my problem is not a dearth of beautiful things. I have far too many beautiful things and I wish someone else wanted them. I’d happily give them away, including some rare, very old Chinese porcelain.

Does anyone need a lovely, handmade Japanese tea set? I’ve got an extra.

INDOOR ODDBALLS

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 39


It’s a cold, gray, damp day. Raining. Sometimes just drizzling, sometime fairly heavily. It’s also raining north, south, east and west of here and it certainly is dark enough outside. It almost looks like night.

A painted chocolate pot, a 45-year-old music box in the dining room.
A painted chocolate pot, a 45-year-old music box in the dining room.

Rain is supposed to continue through the weekend. So, I guess it’s not surprisingly I’m shooting inside. Fortunately, though I sometimes forget, I have quite a lot of interesting “stuff” here.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are salt & pepper shakers. No, I don't know which is which.
Tweedledum and Tweedledee are salt & pepper shakers. No, I don’t know which is which.

Antiques, dolls, and just miscellaneous things that I’ve found here and there or gotten as gifts. All of it badly needs dusting!

Three very old (Song or Tang) Chinese astrological figures, one old English floral plate, and a small Chinese 19th century ginger jar. The ginger jar might be older, but it's old enough. I just like it.
Three very old (Song or Tang) Chinese astrological figures, one old English floral plate, and a small Chinese 19th century ginger jar. The ginger jar might be older, but it’s old enough. I just like it.

Not going out today, no sirree. It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow and Sunday, but then again, it’s supposed to be raining today, too. If Garry feels better tomorrow and the sun makes even an attempt to peek through the clouds, I’ll go hunting for autumn leaves. So far, at least from where I sit, there’s no evidence of anything except a little bit of brown and yellow.

My odd array of kitchen utensils
My odd array of kitchen utensils

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ART IS HUMAN

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Whatever else you can say about humans, we are — as far as I know — the only species that creates art. Any kind of art. For any reason.

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The belief that art is not for everyone is relatively new. The Chinese, as far back as the Song Dynasty, made art for the royal court … but they also created art for peasants and servants.

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Their belief — with which I agree — was that everyone needs art. There is no one so poor, uneducated, or unimportant to not deserve some beauty in their lives.

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Art — not speech, nor the opposable thumb — is what sets us apart from other creatures. Beauty for its own sake is a very human thing.

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Beautiful things soften the edges of our lives. What is beautiful to me may not be your idea of beauty, but that’s unimportant. What is important is that the place you live, the place that nourishes you be a place that feeds your soul, your heart, your eyes. Through color, texture, smell, shape.

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It doesn’t even have to be “official” art. Whatever feeds that piece of you where beauty lives, you need some of that, to see it, touch it, have it with you.

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If you don’t know what you need this Christmas? Buy yourself — or someone you love — something beautiful. Feed a soul this holiday season.