How is it Made?

Two willow pattern copper printing plates, one for a platter, one for a plate

My favorite willow pattern pieces are not always blue, but for the most part they are typically English. I love older English pieces. I simply love to research where they came from, and how each piece may have been made. I have to admit, a trip to England is on my bucket list! Someone let my hubby know!

I have had several of these pieces pass through my hands. I have this great friend Jeff who loves willow, probably more than I do and I have passed most of them on to him….you know sometimes a girl has to make a tuition payment. I can’t wait for the day when those darn things go away!!!! My son is a sophomore, so the time is near.

Pictured above are close up pictures of the front and back of this printing plate used to create a blue willow platter. The backside has a completely different pattern. In the center is this gorgeous eagle pattern. I have not found any manufacturer mark, so I really am clueless about where it came from. I will say, the birds have fairly detailed wings and their shape tells me it is English.

Most Japanese willow have a rather puffy bird. I honestly have not studied how those plates were printed, but none the less English takes my heart! To check out how the English printing plates were used, check out this Youtube video. I have no rights to it, so I am just directly you straight to the source! And what is even better is that they are making a willow plate!

Think about how long it took to make just one plate that met standards and then go into your cabinet and cherish those English pieces just a little bit more!

I love how this printing plate was loved so much by someone that they took the time to make a hand made frame to keep it safe from the elements. I have no idea who the manufacturer is is, but I truly adore this piece. It reminds me of the plate in the transferware video listed above.

I love these pieces. They remind me of the willow pattern printing plates above. I believe they are silver plated and the backs are adorned with green felt. I would say they have been used on tables for a hotplate of sorts, to obviously serve from our best willow pieces.

I don’t know much about these other than they are about 100 years old. I have researched the hallmark HJ&G and it traces back to Hobson, James & Gilby and dates to approximately 1920 made in Birmingham. The detail on these pieces is stunning. HJ&G is a silversmith group, so I wonder if these had a way of being mass produced or they were hammered out individually. I just don’t know what technology they had in 1920. Maybe someone can comment on here and enlighten me!

For now, that’s all I have for ya! Enjoy Christine

Willow Pattern in Silver!

Beautiful Willow Pattern Silver Coffee Pot, Tea Pot, Creamer & Sugar

I have to say, I love the willow pattern in about any color, but this is about one of my favorite sets. I look at the silver engraving work and the little Asian man adorning the lids on these pieces. This is one of the easiest sets to add to absolutely any color place setting. These do not have a hallmark I can read, so I cannot tell you much about them, other than I purchased them and had them shipped from Italy!

The set pictured above is in the gallery below. I have shown you some more detailed pictures of this set. The detail is simply amazing. Do you think this is the angry father from the willow pattern story perched on the lid?

I have a couple of different styles with the willow pattern. Some are more ornate than others. One teapot has a bone lid finial on the top while another has a black handle.

The tray I have is adorned with such detailed small feet and the willow pattern is repeated over and over on the top.

The last piece is a favorite piece because it shows wear and I know someone truly loved and used this teapot. The silver plating has worn off in many areas and it has dings and scars. It also served it’s purpose!

Obviously these are all from different manufactures, patterns are all different as well. The teapot pictured directly above has a beautiful willow pattern, but it has shows much wear and tear.

I guess there is a part of me that truly loves this because it reminds me of myself. I have went through life and from time to time, the result is scars, dings, maybe even some tarnish. For some crazy reason, with each vintage piece I purchase, I see a treasure that someone else has passed by or disgarded.

I suppose this is why I work in recovery and why I collect so many willow items. I feel the need to rescue those items others may not see value in. I know some of you willow collectors might see value in these items, while others would pass them by.

My life is no different. I often feel passed by, like I am damaged goods because life has thrown me some curves (some I brought on by my own poor decisions). Regardless, I still have value and in the right eyes (God’s eyes) I am priceless…

Enough of that for today! I love my silver willow, with or without tarnish and dings!!!

Tea Time!

Three Very Different Types of Tea Pots in the Willow Pattern

I have to say, I don’t drink tea. I know, don’t hate me, I happen to love coffee. But I do LOOOVVVEEEE willow teapots! I should get some form of credit for that right? Each of the teapots pictured above have the willow pattern and are different in their own way. I chose these three simply because of their size, shape or how they function.

The first teapot I chose was this tiny little one cup (in my book) teapot.

This little teapot is so adorable. It has the traditional willow pattern but is adorned with a brown and gold gilt pattern on it as well. This little guy was made by MacIntyre in Burslem England. I have not researched the manufacturer or date, but I love this little guy! By the way who drinks just one cup anyway?

Next up is the self pouring Royal Doulton Teapot! Yes you heard me right, no need to tilt this one, it will pour on it’s own with an adjustment of the lid!

This lovely teapot was an amazing invention by John James Royle, an Englishman who owned a Manchester engineering company. These were patented in 1886 and the teapots were actually made by Doulton & Co. between 1887 and 1897. What an amazing find in great condition!

This beauty has a pumping mechanism in the center. When the center of the pot was raised and then depressed with the finger covering the small hole in the top, the downward action generated pressure in the teapot, pressing the tea leaves and water out the spout! Crazy right?!

Lastly is this two spout teapot that really has me stumped!

I love this teapot, but most of the two handled teapots I have seen have a divider on the inside that allows the tea maker to create two different flavors in the teapot. This one has no divider inside. I have not attempted to pour from this one, simply out of fear that I would make a huge mess!

This beauty was made by Ashworth brothers and was most likely used on the Allan Line Ship, which is noted on the mark.

Do you have teapots you simply love? Do you actually use them? Do you have a rare teapot that functioned differently than most?

Cheese Domes – Who eats that much cheese?

Two English Cheese Domes or Cheese Keepers Probably from Mid 1800’s

I have to say, while I love cheese, this my friends looks like a ton of cheese. I had to say I was so excited when the first cheese dome arrived at the house. It is the one on the right. It is not marked but I knew it was from England just based on the pattern.

I recall purchasing it from an online auction, along with a bunch of other crap (non willow items), praying when it arrived it would be intact. I always sell the other crap to pay for my addiction. I always hate ordering from out of the country, simply out of fear that it won’t arrive in one piece. The box arrived and it was huge. There were little Staffordshire cottages, and other small willow items, I didn’t really care for tucked all around a big box in the center.

Half of me feared pulling that box out to hear it clang inside, but it didn’t. The shippers had done a wonderful job of wrapping it and double boxing it. They also filled it with these hideous little boogers called foam peanuts. I hate those things, but they do their job! The first time I gazed at it, all I could think was how on earth did people eat that much cheese?

Like seriously, I don’t have wine in my house due to discussions I have had in my previous blog…but wine and cheese, like you would be drunk and bound up for days! This made me think, I was missing something! So I began to research these precious finds.

These cheese keepers were durable, and obviously over 200 years later these beauties are still in tact. They are very heavy, sturdy and were probably used over and over with every block of cheese the family made or purchased. Back in the 1800’s, without refrigeration, these domes created the perfect climate. Under the handle of the one on the right there is a metal piece, that most likely served to allow air to escape.

These domes were probably made so tall, so the cheese had room to breath and allowed for the right humidity. I think if anyone has ever smelled cheese, it also probably served to keep the smell of grandpa’s toes form spreading throughout the house!

I have posted pictures of these on my Facebook page before and everyone thinks they are for cake. That too my friends would be a bad deal. You would become insulin dependent in no time eating cake that size!

I will also add that the shape of domes began to change and get smaller around 1860. I have added a picture to the gallery of a much smaller cheese dome. The one pictured is a gaudy willow Ridgway Pottery cheese dome. It was my first every cheese dome. Now I have become addicted to seeking out these babies. I will add, the only cheese I truly love is at the Mexican place we eat at and to much surprise, that cheese has no binding effect!!! I know so gross, but if you eat Mexican food as much as I do, you understand exactly what I am talking about.

Anyhow, onto dome number two. The second dome has an Iron Stone China Mark but gives no manufacturer data and I have looked through countless willow pattern books. I know it is English and most likely the bottom is a marriage. Meaning the top and bottom were put together after one or the other was broken. The top looks to me to be a Ridgway pattern. It has many areas of raised marks and it made to truly resemble a barrel with the raised sections.

I don’t know about you, but I am in love with these domes and will be certain to purchase the next one I see. They currently adorn my kitchen table that seats 8. They are too heavy and too broad to fit in my china cupboards and I would fear losing a shelf if I made that choice. None the less, I love each of them.

Do you have a cheese dome in the willow pattern? Please share if you do, I would love to hear about it and see some pics!!!! For now, don’t drink too much wine or eat too much cheese! Much Willow Love Christine.

Blue Willow Addiction!

I have to start off by telling you how I got to where I am in my Willow Pattern Collecting

I received my first piece of willow (showcased on my home page) after my husband and I got married. I was 20 and he was 19! Needless to say, we were entirely too young to get married, but I was expecting our first child.

We were sophomore’s in college, struggling to make ends meet and my mom at the time owned an antique, second hand shop in our tiny little town. My husband and I moved into my childhood home. It was a tiny two bedroom house, but had everything we needed to get started.

The kitchen had maple cabinets painted white. There were several layers of other colors too, but the yellow formica countertops shouted decorate with blue and white! My first piece of willow was the Japanese salt box pictured on my home page. Searching for additional pieces to complete a 6 place setting, was difficult.

It was slim pickings when the only places you could afford to shop was the Humane Society and Salvation Army thrift stores! At the time, there was no internet, so , while it sounds crazy, you actually drove around looking for your willow treasures!

The married life was not what I had envisioned. We were entirely too young to get married, but the shame we had brought our families by expecting a child out of wedlock, back in the 90’s was too much to bare. I always thought, the decans in the church are adults, surely they can count at least to 5! Eventually they will figure out 5 months later we had a child!

The pressures of being young parents, struggling to finish school and making ends meet took my husband and I both down destructive paths. Neither of us had our heart right with God and both of us turned to other vises to cope. He to alcohol and myself…validation and work.

Long story short, after 7 years, we had outgrown that tiny little house and two china cupboards sat filled with willow of all different manufacturers. Heck I didn’t know the difference….they all had birds, a bridge and pagoda. I found myself stopping at the mall book store and looking through antique books when I found that salt box, my very first piece valued at over $200.

Now back then we lived on nachos and cheese in the college cafeteria, $200 would have made us rich, but instead, to me it was nothing shy of treasure…and it was given to me! Hence my love of willow collecting began in 1996. 26 years later, I have a much larger home and 3,000 plus pieces of willow. I also have an Ebay app! Eeek, that is dangerous!

How on earth did I get here? Well my husband and I finally found recovery at a local church. We began to piece together the issues in our marriage and soon we began to find healing. We eventually built our own home and moved out in to the country. Once we began to make God the center of our lives, we began to work on ourselves individually and then our relationship. We are now approaching 25 years of marriage this upcoming March!

I am sure you can tell, I run a recovery program after being a participant since 2012. And I would like to say all I do is collect, but there really is a deeply rooted addiction down there. It just happens to look nice on a shelf or at a beautiful table!

Addiction comes in many forms and while I joke about collecting, the fact that I have had to box up the more common willow and take it to the basement tells me I do have an issue! The good thing is, it all has value and I can sell any of it if I truly needed to. I will not however move into another home, unless my life depends on it. I have accumulated way too much.

Why do I do what I do?

Why do I feel the need to look for that one rare piece?

When is enough enough?

I have to be honest here, after a childhood of chaos and a marriage that was no different for the first 17 years, I have found myself clinging to the next purchase. Patiently awaiting the mailman to bring it to me undamaged.

I learned early on as a child, the value of antiques and was often praised when I would help my mom locate a rare item at a yard sale or flea market. Just so you know, sitting in the dirt at the flea market playing, leaves one fairly dirty! Those were the good days!

Anyhow, I think each piece brings some form of fulfillment, and excitement. Unfortunately it does fade, so on to the next hunt! I joined the International Willow Collectors group back in the mid 90’s and found there are many other people out there like me. My husband and I attended 3 conventions before I was brave enough to pack up the set above and enter a place setting competition. Needless to say, I did win that competition!!!!!! I was hooked.

I did notice I was about the youngest of the adult group from a collecting perspective, but those days helping in my mom’s antique shop and at antique shows had groomed me into a collector. I saw value in what I collected and often times, the thrill of the hunt kept me going strong.

I have attended several conventions now and two years ago got to speak on willow pattern toby jugs. It is one of my favorite things to collect. Anyhow, I will say this is one area of my recovery where I am still active in addiction. I simply love looking for the next piece, learning where it came from!

#willowpattern #bluewillow #collecting #placesettings

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