collections of blue & white china
Many of my collected treasures can instantly transport me back to the place and time that I bought them or found them or were given them. They are a timeline of my life and loves. They are my memories of beautiful moments. Ordinary moments that have become extraordinary in the remembering and the telling.
I believe it’s important to collect these moments. They are part of your story. The finding and the keeping. Story telling is an important part of contemporary design.
When you travel, inspiration strikes at every turn. To have a piece of that experience, a physical reminder, something that instantly transports you back to that time and place, and makes you smile at the memory – these are the best souvenirs.
Amongst my collected bits and pieces, I’ve always loved old blue and white china. My Mum used to collect Delft, so maybe the early influences were there. I especially love eastern or Asian blue and white china. Over the years many a little bowl or tea cup has found its way home with me. So when I came across a stall in Vietnam selling these old ceramics, my heart skipped a beat and I knew they would be coming home with me.
I am quite a practical person at heart, but never will I let practicalities get in between something I love and the need to get it home safely. I have a list of things in my journal that I would have brought home from Vietnam, but for obvious reasons I couldn’t, and I wasn’t about to put fragile ceramics on that list. Choosing was not easy. But the stall holder was quick to notice the pieces I gravitated towards, and after unearthing many more, and with my guide patiently waiting and helping, I had a beautiful selection. While they carefully wrapped them, she invited me to look at the exercise books of the children she was teaching inside. They were so excited that someone who spoke English was looking at their English lesson. The details of that lesson are now a part of the story of my plates.
These plates are unashamedly chippy. So would you be if you had been abandoned or buried some sixty or eighty or a hundred years ago, in a beautiful country of turmoil. To me, this is just part and parcel of the journey and story behind each one. I think they make each plate or bowl imperfect in the most perfect way. A true vintage patina can never be replicated.
Each piece is handmade, and then they are either hand painted or decorated by hand with a transfer. Some are ‘same, same’ as they say in Vietnam, but no two are alike.
Wrapped in several parcels and carefully carried on motorbike and plane, I am happy to say that all arrived home to Wellington in one piece. Where they have joined my collection of plates and bowls from other travels, other countries, another time. Writing the next chapter of their story.
(photos & styling Amanda Holland for perfectly imperfect living)