Slow Boat to China

A great episode of the Twilight Zone is Time Enough at Last with Burgess Meredith. Meredith plays a man who loves to read, but is annoyingly interrupted by those around him. He survives a nuclear war while reading in a bank vault, and then discovers a post-apocalyptic world with no people and all the time to read for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, he drops his glasses and is left with time and books, but cannot see them. I have a similar irony, albeit less dramatic.

I love dishes and drinking glasses. I have too many of these. But, I live in a region where earthquakes cause breakage. I’m also concerned that my guests will break a glass or dish. So I keep the collections in a cabinet, and use the Melmac plastic dinnerware. I typically say, “I know you won’t mind using plastic, but we’re all family and can be casual.” Of course I say this to everyone regardless of my relationship and carefully watch the dish cabinet. I realize this is selfish and stupid. Is my goal to maintain a complete set of Russell Wright Iroquois Casual dinnerware intact until I die?

One of my absolute favorite sets is Salem China Company’s Pat Prichard Nostalgic Old America from 1956. Viktor Schreckengost designed the forms, and Pat Prichard created the art. Old Gloucester is a fantastic collection of New England forms such as clipper ships, rooster weathervanes, baked beans, and a seaside village. I guess baked beans are big in New England. Old Comstock depicts a western scene with happy horses, old west saloons, and a stagecoach. Clearly, this is New England nostalgia from another time. Unlike the HBO mini-series John Adams (yes related), there is no depiction of surgery with no anesthesia. And on Old Comstock, unlike Deadwood, there is no whoring or liberal use of the “C” word (and I don’t mean China).

Playing with your poodle

Pat Prichard handkerchief, poodle and hot air balloon

There are some blogs that are so smart and intellectual. I read them and think, "boy, maybe I should focus on something that sounds really smart. Like deconstructing the history of the internet." But then I come across something wonderful. I'm easily distracted by the shiny object. Today, I found something incredible. I've talked about Pat Prichard on here before. She was an amazing illustrator who left her mark on handkerchiefs, dish towels, dinnerware, and other textiles. I'm an avid fan. Going through a box of textiles today, I came across a collection of Pat Prichard materials. How can I talk about deconstruction when I am faced with a handkerchief of poodles in hot air balloons. Genius. I do question the sanity of the creator. How do you get there? Do you sit at your desk and think, "Gee, I like poodles. And I really like hot air balloons. What if I put them together?" Maybe it's a French poodle, French hot air balloon combination. Whatever the process, it resulted in a joyous and playful object. Now if I only had wallpaper like this.

Pat Prichard handkerchief, poodles and hot air balloons

Love the Dish Towel! Love it!

Missouri Queen Riverboat, Pat Prichard

Several years ago, I came across a fantastic dish-towel. This sounds sort of sad; like I live a small life and get excited by a dish-towel. But you will love this one. That's an order. Love it. The signature reads. “Pat Prichard,” who also designed dinnerware, handkerchiefs, and other assorted textiles. We had high hopes of writing a book about her work, but have been unable to find any information. The artifacts were created during the 1950s and 1960s and reflect the values and undercurrents of the era. Her choice of places as subject matter is interesting; they typically follow a idealized Americana. This depiction of the Mississippi and New Orleans tells the story with the Missouri Queen and Robert E. Lee Steamboats, a pot of shrimps creole, a banjo, chicken, and fried chicken ingredients.

Fried Chicken, Pat Prichard

Banjo, Pat Prichard

Shrimps Creole, Pat Prichard