Colors that Charm

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

If there’s anything popular right now, it’s the pretty pastel tones of spring. Mere weeks ago we were held captive to a winter chill, yet we are now greeted by daffodils in shades of butter and tulips in blush pink.

 

During the 1950s and 1960s the West Virginia Glass Company of Weston, W.V. created beautiful, yet inexpensive, Blendo glassware that came in fabulous colors. Frosted up the sides until they faded to clear, in an ombré style of graduated shading, the glasses and their pitchers were trimmed with shiny gold rims. Among the brighter colors were tangerine and yellow and among the pastel shades was a beautiful lavender. This pitcher with six glasses gives a Mid-century Modern fan an Easter basket’s choice of pastels, perfect for a “Mad Men” style cocktail bar ($69.99; Booth T-192).

 

This diminutive McCoy planter, photo left, is yet another example of the pastel colors for which the art pottery maker McCoy became famous (T-194). With its array of styles and colors, McCoy has long captivated collectors, from Andy Warhol to Martha Stewart. It is easy to see why, with distinctive yellows, mint greens and baby blues, to name a few. Take your pick; you can’t go wrong.

 

Historically, the people of Portugal were early seafaring traders, establishing the first commercial relationship with Asia. There they discovered porcelain, which they brought back to Europe in droves. This contact with the fine wares of the East rekindled the love affair Portuguese artisans already had with clay. Glazed tiles, for example, were an early form of artistic expression in Portugal.

 

This sunny yellow platter, photo right, is a classic example of an embossed cabbage leaf design from Portugal ($22.50; T-293). What makes such a plate so versatile is that any hostess can combine them for large parties – even with similar wares that don’t perfectly match in either color or design.

 

Nigella Lawson, the British bombshell who also happens to be a chef, has a line of kitchenware, BlissHome, that is as pretty as she is. From spoon rests to measuring cups, BlissHome items possess soft curves – like Lawson – as well as colors that are modern yet feminine.  These mixing bowls, photo left, remind one of a robin’s pale blue egg and have the shape to match ($50; T-206).

 

This vintage Zell majolica plate, photo below right, was made in Germany (majolica plate, $38; Booth T-267). Featuring wild strawberries and white flowers on a background of sky blue, it is perfect for a spring or summer table setting. Majolica – a general term for clay pottery glazed with an opaque tin enamel – has roots the fourteenth century, but it continues to be popular today. I could see this plate being used for a ladies’ luncheon, or used as decoration in a grouping on a wall.

 

If you don’t have pretty pastels in your home, it’s time to usher some in. I find that they add playfulness to a neutral room, while keeping the overall effect calm and soothing.

 

 

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