Vintage Feature – The “Magic” Behind Vintage Blue Ridge China

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

I found Peggy first – this quaint dessert dish with a single pink flower. I thought it was special because of its simplicity but I didn’t know it was a Blue Ridge pattern until much later. In fact, I had never heard of Blue Ridge pottery!

Now I understand why folks love to collect Blue Ridge. The history behind this unique style of dishware is a great American story about a once thriving pottery in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee.  Although our current inventory of Blue Ridge is limited, our appreciation at Southern Vintage Table for this American-made china is growing!

The story begins in the early 1900s when a railroad company sold a large parcel of land along their railroad line in Erwin, Tennessee to a group of investors. There were rich deposits of kaolinite and feldspar nearby, perfect ingredients for a pottery business. According to Wikipedia, in 1916 Clinchfield Potteries opened their doors for business, manufacturing the typical china style of the times which were described as “gold-trimmed, decal-decorated dishes”.

blue ridge logoIn the 1920s the business was sold and became known as Southern Potteries. To set his style of china apart from his competitors, the new owner introduced a hand painted, underglaze technique. The bold, new patterns, painted by the local women, were stamped with the new label, Blue Ridge, sometime during the 1930s.

Young ladies, some as young as fifteen, came down from the mountains to be trained as painters at the pottery. Men were taught how to mold the shapes and do the firing. Some of the young ladies were so talented that they were allowed to paint what are called Artists Signed Plates. These are rare, but wonderful to own. Others were content being part of a team who sat in hard chairs around a table and painted for many hours each day. One might paint a flower on the bisque plate while another would add a stem and leaves. A third might paint an edge around the plate and so on until the plate was finished and put in the stack to be fired and glazed.  (blueridgechina.com)

Bright colors and big designs are hallmarks of Blue Ridge patterns. Here are four dinner plate patterns in our inventory at Southern Venture Table.

This pattern is called Stanhome Ivy.  It was a pattern made in 1947 for Stanley Home Products and given as a gift to the hostess when she held a party featuring their wares. Avon cosmetics and Quaker Oats also gave Blue Ridge china to salespeople and consumers to boost sales of their own products.

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

The big bold flower patterns are my favorite designs, especially the yellow ones. These vintage dessert plates are simply charming!

Due to a shortage of imports during WWII, business boomed for Southern Potteries. After the war ended, however, cheaper china imports returned to the American market and plastic dinnerware hit the stores. The competition was tough on Southern Potteries and their business dramatically fell. After designing over 4000 different patterns, Southern Potteries finally closed its doors in 1957 and, according to Blue Ridge-SPI,  “the magic was gone.”  I love that quote.

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

These vintage American-made hand painted patterns are available at Southern Vintage Table in limited amounts but we are actively looking to add to our collection!  As I admire these hand painted beauties, I have a vision of women, brushes in hand, artfully painting and sharing a little of themselves with every stroke of their brush. Invite Southern Vintage Table to share some vintage magic with your guests at your next event!

Here are more resources about the now-collectable Blue Ridge china!
Blue Ridge Pottery China Dinnerware Pottery Southern Potteries
Blue Ridge – SPI
Blue Ridge (dishware) – Wikipedia
The Erwin National Pottery Club

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Vintage Feature – The Beauty of Vintage Milk Glass

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Milk Glass Vase Rental

I remember the first time I heard the term “milk glass.”  My dear sister-in-law, Cathy, was packing up her house to move to the Outer Banks.  She showed me a vase and explained it was hobnail milk glass.  I recall thinking “what a cool name” and I think I even had her spell it since I had never heard “hobnail”, but it wasn’t love at first sight for me.  Of course, I said something like, “hmmm, that’s interesting” but I didn’t quite understand why anyone would collect a knobby white vase.  Like many twists in life, I never imagined I’d be building a collection of milk glass today for my business, Southern Vintage Table!

Since then I’ve educated myself a bit on this classic vintage glassware. I’ve learned that milk glass has been around since the 1500s but the term “milk glass” wasn’t coined until the twentieth century.  Although “milk glass” was popularized by the white milk-like color, the word “milk” doesn’t necessarily mean white; it means the glass isn’t transparent, but translucent. Here’s a little bit of chemistry trivia – they use either tin oxide or bone ash (yep, ashes of real bones) to give the glass that milky white color!

“Opal glass.” as it was called, comes in white, brown and black as well as in hues of green, yellow, pink and blue. It was invented in Venice in the 16th century, spread to France and England and then to America.  First considered collectables by the wealthy, many American companies began making less expensive milk glassware for the masses.  One highly, collectable and popular variety is Jadeite, which has a beautiful light green color.  Our collection is only white but I’m always on the lookout for the other colors.

Probably all of us have seen the many styles of milk glass vases. I’ve collected small bud to large bouquet vases, with wonderful designs and textures. Here are some from our collection!

Milk Glass Vase Rental NC

Milk Glass Vase Rental

I love the vintage compotes and serving dishes in the milky white color.  Food just looks extra delicious against the pure white of the dish!

Milk Glass Compote

Vintage milk glass goblets and small compotes are also lovely and can be used as either vases, planters, or small serving dishes!Milk Glass Compotes Rental

The purity of white vintage milk glass is a classic choice for so many special gatherings such as weddings, receptions, showers, anniversaries, and dinner parties. Invite Southern Vintage Table to help you set the table with this charming vintage accessory! More of our collection can be seen on our Pinterest Board.

Milk Glass Vase Rental

For more about milk glass, check out these resources!
Milk Glass Kitchen
Wikipedia
About.com Antiques

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Vintage Feature – Mixing and Matching with a New Set of Vintage China

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

I came across another beautiful set of china that fits perfectly with the vintage china collection at Southern Vintage Table.  This vintage set belonged to Grandmother Belle and, according to her daughter in law, was used on special occasions. I can imagine how delighted Belle must have been when she set her table for her guests with her fine china! This pattern is by Grace China and called Formal Garden. Discontinued in 1939, it was made in pre-war Japan which means it’s at least 75 years old!

This pattern is truly beautiful, but I think the sweet floral design stands out even more when mixed with other vintage patterns. Here’s a collection of place settings featuring the Formal Garden dinner plate with a medley of salad plates. Some patterns are contemporaries with Formal Garden and others were manufactured decades later. Such historical richness in a place setting!

Here are a few photos with the soup/salad bowl and the dessert plate.  Charming!

Another gorgeous vintage china pattern in our vintage china collection ready for you to share with your guests!  Contact Southern Vintage Table for more information about our event packages with our lovely, vintage wares. We look forward to hearing from you!

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Vintage Feature – New Additions to Southern Vintage Table

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental

It’s time to catch up with some of our new additions to our inventory here at Southern Vintage Table!  We have found a little bit of everything and we know you’ll love them all!

We added three new teacups to our growing collection of lovely china.  This one is gorgeous, inside and out, with its purple flowers and gold trim. This vintage set is by Royal Sealy China of Japan.

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental

Here’s a version of the Blue Willow pattern that I had not seen before. This pair of teacups were made in Occupied Japan, making them a bit of a collector’s item, and this dates them between 1945-52. I didn’t notice that detail until I brought them home because I was taken by their beautiful cobalt blue color with gold trim. What a nice surprise!

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental

It was an amazing week as far as pink glassware!  I found three Jeannette Glass Cube footed tumblers from the early 1930s.  The pair of pink embossed goblets are a little less vintage.  The pattern, Arbor by Noritake, was discontinued in the late 1990s.

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental

The next three finds are now in our vintage decor collection.  One is a vintage jug that would be perfect for a spray of flowers and the another is a vintage flour sifter. They belonged to Belle and they are probably from the 1930s-40s. The vintage wooden box is from a thrift store nearby – I love the rough, darkened wood!

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental

Found this trio of charming dessert plates at a flea market.  I love the hand-painted dogwood, something I can’t walk away from since the dogwood is our state’s official flower!  The pattern is Dixie Dogwood by Joni and although they’re a bit crazed, I appreciate their beauty.

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental

We added to our milk glass collection with these three vases.  Their regal design is a new one for me!

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental

Perhaps my favorite find is this beautiful, hand crocheted lace overlay.  It’s incredible!  I found it at a local thrift store so I do not know anymore than what I can see – but that’s saying a lot!

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China RentalThese and other unique vintage items are now available at Southern Vintage China.  Add a bit of beauty and history to your next happy occasion!

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Vintage Feature – A Sentimental Look at American Life through “People” China Patterns

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC
Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC
This elaborate china pattern features a very popular Godey print!

I love flowers on vintage china patterns – pinks, blues, yellows and greens in floral motifs are beautiful to behold as you sit down to your dinner meal. And, although flowers are lovely, I also appreciate non-floral china patterns decorated with images of roosters, funky shapes and people. As I looked through our inventory at Southern Vintage Table I realized that we had quite a few “people” patterns and decided it would be interesting and fun to see these all together!

Let’s start with the Godey print china patterns portraying Victorian life. I researched this Colonial couple a while back and discovered that this print actually came from a magazine called Godey’s Magazine and Lady’s Book.  According to Wikipedia, the magazine was printed from 1830-1898 and the editor during most of that era was Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

The magazine is best known for the hand-tinted fashion plate that appeared at the start of each issue, which provide a record of the progression of women’s dress. Publisher Louis Godey showed off that in 1859, it cost $105,200 to produce the Lady’s Book, with the coloring of the fashion-plates costing $8,000.[15] Almost every issue also included an illustration and pattern with measurements for a garment to be sewn at home. A sheet of music for piano provided the latest waltz, polka or galop.

Wow! Can you imagine how exciting it must have been to get this magazine every month with the hottest fashions, a dress pattern and the latest music hit? Well worth that $3 a year subscription price, right? Read more about the influence of this magazine on American culture – I learned that wearing white on your wedding day, putting up a Christmas tree and even the celebration of Thanksgiving became popular traditions because of this publication! Get more details in the Wikipedia article – it’s a fascinating read!

Apparently this print featured above was very popular when you consider how many different china companies used it as their center design. I looked on a popular china replacement website and found at least 37 different china patterns with this one print!  Companies like Limoges, Sebring Pottery, Homer Laughlin, Canonsburg, Harker, Cronin, Stetson, Sheffield, Royal, WS George, Salem and Crooksville all had this print on at least one pattern – in fact, several had it on multiple patterns. I wish I knew how all these china companies ended up with this one Godey print, so if anyone out there can enlighten me, please do!

We also have four china patterns with a similar look from that same time period – the first is a Godey print and the other two are very similar.

This look was popular through the mid century. I found a Salem China’s advertisement from 1945 featuring the Godey print pattern with this comment.

“Every meal becomes an “occasion” when your table is set with Salem’s Godey’s prints. Faithful color reproductions with all the charm of Godey’s Lady’s Book.”

Now let’s take a look at another view of American life in this series of “people” patterns that were popular mid-century through sometime in the 1980s. Farm and rural life are depicted in many china patterns; perhaps the most well known are the Currier & Ives patterns from Royal China and Scio. The landscape scenery is the main focus but there are folks in there, too! The blue pattern is made by Royal China, the green by Scio and the last one is by Metlox Poppytrail, All three china companies were once thriving industries in America – Royal China and Scio were located in Ohio and Metlox was in California.

What I love about these rural series is that each of the china pieces in a pattern have a different scene so the entire set works together to tell the story – a multi motif pattern. For instance, the blue Currier & Ives has an Old Grist Mill on the dinner plate, the salad plate has an image of Washington’s birthplace and the cereal bowl shows a schoolhouse covered in snow. How delightful! Here’s one resource that you might enjoy about Royal China and the Currier & Ives series. By the way, I learned from Wikipedia that Currier & Ives were not the artists of the prints; they owned the printmaking firm that produced the artwork.

The final “people” plates are two that portray early American History. The Liberty Blue series is also multi-motif with the dinner plate showcasing Independence Hall and the other is called Old Church Tower Jamestown Blue by Adams China. It features images from this settlement and portraits of John Smith and Princess Pocahontas!

As I researched and wrote this blog, I became more deeply enthralled with the work of the artisans of the china and dinnerware industry. Their artistry is encapsulated in a piece of china for generations to enjoy at the family dinner table. How cool is that?

We have these patterns and others in our inventory at Southern Vintage Table! Give us a call or send an email to find out how we can help make your next gathering special and memorable!

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Vintage Feature – A Message from the Cosmos

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Anything Can Happen…

I was doing a photo shoot featuring our new doilies and decided to use some vintage books as an accent. I chose this one off the shelf, and not looking at the title, I placed it on top of the stack and took a photo.  Then I noticed the title – Anything Can Happen by George and Helen Waite Papashvily, copyright 1940. Wow, I instantly hought, a message from the cosmos!

Haven’t read it but, of course, I love the sentiment!  Sending you wishes for your “Anything Can Happen” dreams in the new year!

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Vintage Feature – Vintage Table Linens are Delicate, Lovely and Often Very Personal

Southern Vintage Table Vintage Linens
Southern Vintage Table Vintage Linens
This vintage tablecloth with its blue hand stitched embroidery says love!

I am so appreciative of the beauty and unique history of vintage linens. Unlike china and crystal, vintage linens are often personalized with the delicate touch of hand stitching or embroidery. A true vintage treasure is finding a tablecloth or set of napkins that is a one-of-a-kind with the beautiful handiwork of its previous owner.

Whether it’s fine linen or pure cotton, lacy or frayed, embroidered or edged with lace, crisp white or cream colored, vintage linens add a special touch to the dinner table. Here is a sampling of our treasured inventory of vintage napkins and tablecloths at Southern Vintage Table.

These embroidered napkins are sweet!

Vintage white napkins with white embroidery is clean, crisp and fresh.

Our inventory of vintage tablecloths includes different sizes and colors.  Below are two of our small embroidered cream-colored vintage tablecloths and three white vintage lace tablecloths.

Although white and cream are classic vintage colors, Southern Vintage Table has other colors and patterns in our linen collection.  Our Pinterest board featuring our vintage linens recently has been created and more pins will be forthcoming. Also, check out our vintage doilies board – we have lots in our inventory!

Southern Vintage Table Vintage LinensVintage tablecloths, napkins, placemats, runners, and doilies are in our linen closet at Southern Vintage Table.  We’d love to share our treasures with you!

Southern Vintage Table Vintage Linens• — • — • — • — • — • — • — • — • — • — • — • — • — • — • — •

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Vintage Feature – Small Vintage Goblets are Perfect for the Wedding Toast

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental

We love vintage glassware!  The feel, the look and the history embodied in a tumbler or goblet speaks to us. So when a client asked if Southern Vintage Table had one hundred small clear vintage goblets for the toast at her wedding, we told her, “not yet, but we will!”  With this request from Rebekah an extra element of fun had been added to our vintage adventures.  Every thrift store and antique shop we have visited in the past month has been very focused as we search for the perfect collection of small vintage goblets.  Here are just a few we have found so far.

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental
This vintage Jenkins pattern is pre 1920!

We are almost there, Rebekah, with your one hundred small clear vintage goblets and we must admit, we’lll probably still be looking way beyond that count.  We definitely will be ready come September!

If you have an upcoming wedding, please contact Southern Vintage Table.  We have an extensive inventory of vintage china, silverware, glassware and linens, and if we don’t have exactly what you want, we’ll do our best to find it!

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Southern Vintage Table Event – Vintage Postcards Capture the Christmas Spirit

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

I’ve known Priscilla for well over 20 years.  Our friendship began at Culbreth Middle School – she taught 6th grade science and I taught 8th grade science.  We both loved to find and decorate our classrooms with all kinds of natural things – pine cones, turtle shells, skeletons, rocks, bird nests – whatever we could find or get. As kindred nature and vintage enthusiasts, our tablescape visions for her annual Christmas party were totally in sync.

When we were planning for her party, Priscilla brought out these two incredibly huge pine cones that were at least a foot long!  Of course, I wanted to know what kind they were and where they came from.  Well, it turns out they are sugar tree pinecones that come from a tree that grows in California.  She saw them at a science convention and thought they were amazing and wanted some for her classroom. So she wrote a letter – a time before email – to a colleague who lived in California and asked him to please send her a few sugar tree pine cones so she could share them with her students. You see, Priscilla has this way about her that when she shows you something she loves, you instantly fall in love with it, too – that’s what made her such a terrific teacher.  She loved science and so did her students. Shortly after the letter was mailed, a boxful of these exquisite beauties arrived at her door and were part of her classroom for many years. Who would have known that these same pinecones would be adorning her Christmas table years later and I would be helping her set the table? As you might imagine, we shared a good laugh about it all!

In addition to the many varieties of pinecones around her lovely home, she also has a wonderful collection of vintage Christmas postcards dating to the early 1900s. The artwork and the handwritten notes on the back portray a time we all love to imagine. Here are just a few. I included one photo of the handwritten message and address on the back – no zip code!

With her collection of pinecones and vintage postcards, and the vintage milk glass glassware, white linens, china and silverware from Southern Vintage Table, our table design was ready.  We both knew it was going to be exceptionally special!

On the day before the party, the first table we set was in the dining room. We decided to use a vintage green tablecloth with vintage white doilies to accent the rich brown of the pinecones. The vintage postcards were scattered about for guests to enjoy.  What a terrific touch to this vintage tablescape!

Our next set of tables were in the living room.  Here we used crisp white vintage tablecloths and with the Christmas tree as a backdrop, the end result was just beautiful!

Desserts, punch and teacups were ready for guests after their delicious meal! Don’t you love the bold poinsettia pattern on the vintage tablecloths?

Thank you, Priscilla, for inviting Southern Vintage Table to be a part of this special day for you and your friends.  Merry Christmas to all and best wishes in the new year!

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Vintage Tips – Three Organization and Storage Tips

Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC

Never-ending challenges for practically all of us are organization and storage. Our quandary at Southern Vintage Table, and maybe yours as well, is how to store our inventory safely and keep it visible.  We have lots of stuff – china, linens, flatware, serving dishes, frames, vases, silver accessories, baskets, suitcases, candle holders, etc.  Lots and lots of stuff.  How do we keep it all safe, visible and organized?  Here are three quick tips that have helped us and might be useful for you, too!

Tip 1: Decide your organization scheme.
Should you sort by type, style, color, pattern or size?  Many times it’s a combination  For example, we sort teacups by color and napkins by color and size.  For dinner plates, we sort first by style then by color.

Tip 2:  Store in a clear container.
To economize, we were storing a lot of things in boxes.  We labeled the boxes but it still was hard to remember what was inside, especially if it was stacked underneath another box.  We decided to invest in clear containers with the lid attached.  Now we can see the items through the plastic and these bins stack onto of each other neatly and safely.

Tip 3: Cocoon delicates with bubble wrap and then cling wrap it!
If you have delicate china or glassware the major consideration is how to store safely yet visible.  This vintage Blue Willow teapot was in a cardboard box covered with brown paper because we didn’t want it to break. Unfortunately, we also couldn’t remember what box it was in.  As the adage goes, “out of sight, out of mind” but, in this case, we didn’t want to forget we had it. Now it’s on the shelf with a cocoon of protection – a layer of bubble wrap, sealed with plastic wrap.

What’s cool about using this combination is that the bubble wrap gives it cushioning and the plastic wrap acts like tape to keep it all snuggly closed.  And, when you stack one on top of the other on the shelf, they cling to each other which prevents slippage.  I also like that when I go to unwrap, all I have to do is to cut away the plastic wrap which separates quickly and easily from the bubble wrap.  With tape, I usually have to cut the tape which also cuts the bubble wrap, making it difficult to reuse.

These three practices have helped us keep track of our inventory at Southern Vintage Table.  Keep us in mind as you plan your next dinner or party – we are ready and organized!

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC