Saturday, January 27, 2007

Blue and White for Home Decor

Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower; or wearing stone or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?

Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)--
Though some servants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish or blue a whet.

--Robert Frost, "Fragmentary Blue"

I think Robert Frost has a point when he associates humans' fondness for the colour blue with their longing for heaven. Blue certainly has to be one of the most soothing colours in the rainbow. It permeates nature and is probably only second to green in its prevelence (and if we count the ocean along with the sky, then it is actually the most dominant colour on the planet).

It makes sense, then, that blue is such a popular colour for decorating. When I was growing up, it seemed like everything in our house was blue and white. The china, the linens, flowers in the garden, chair coverings. Whenever I go into a new place, I always feel strangely at home if there is blue in the room. I remember the first time I lived away from home, the guest room in the house where I was staying was peppered with lucious shades of blue--a soft sky blue in the pinstripes on the bed and curtains the colour of irises. I instantly knew I could be happy there.

Since I was a young girl I've collected Spode Blue Italian China. I always knew that it would be the perfect china for my home when I grew up. I was fascinated by the process that produced the brilliant indigo patterns on my china. I did go through a brief period about a year ago when I began to question my taste in china, particularly when I realised that Spode was no longer being carried at many retailers. It is not sold at the Bay here in Canada, which is somewhat ironic given that it was the china that the Hudson Bay Company originally brough to Canada with them due to its durability. Despite 190 years of production, the pattern seems to still be going strong, but in a day where Vera Wang china is the "must have" registry item for young brides (and what is she supposed to know about china? She designs wedding dresses for pete's sake!), it will be interesting to see where companies like Spode and Wedgwood will be headed in the future. Nevertheless, I think the world's love affair with blue and white will continue.

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