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2.21.2011

Blue & White Everywhere

Blue and white porcelain has been a favorite of mine for some time.  I grew up with it.  My grandmother had it in her home and my mom has it in her home too.  They both have wonderful taste and I feel fortunate that I grew up in homes that were both beautiful and comfortable.   When working on my home or a client's home I often find myself asking "Would my grandmother or mom do that?"

Well,  I'm seeing blue and white porcelain everywhere!  It is definitely a classic but can work with many different styles.

Here's a little background on these gorgeous accents that have been around a little while.  Cobalt blue decorations started in the Middle East in the 9th century but it really wasn't until the 14th century that the Chinese fully developed the technique to make the blue and white porcelain that we are more familiar with today.   Towards the end of the Ming dynasty (17th century), the porcelain was being exported to European markets and soon became highly prized by both Europeans and Americans.  Some say blue and white porcelain may have been the first truly global commodity.  Today collectors still head to the Netherlands to find the best examples of Ming era porcelain because a Dutch trading company held a near monopoly on the highly sought after goods.  During the 18th century, supposedly with a little help from industrial espionage, the Europeans were able to replicate the Chinese technique.   The technique has changed very little since the days of Ming emperor Kangxi.  But today gas fired kilns are used and a "decaling" technique is used by most to create the blue painting replacing the labor intensive hand painting.  There are entire books dedicated to the history of blue and white porcelain.  So, I'm going to stop there and you can go to Amazon to buy book to learn more!

Check out how blue and white porcelain is being used today.  I think you'll agree they are a real asset to these spaces.


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The four pictures above are from the Grant Gibson blog.

Habitually Chic blog
Habitually Chic blog
Veranda
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Elle Decor

Here is blue and white porcelain in rooms by my favorite designer Michael S. Smith.  This first picture was used for the cover of his book called Houses.  


Michael S. Smith is long time designer for Cindy Crawford.


The blue and white tiles above the fireplace connect to the porcelain.

Michael S. Smith

Here's a couple twists on blue and white porcelain.  This picture is from the Peak of Chic blog of the Schumacher showroom in the Atlanta.  What fun wallpaper!  The print comes in a fabric too.



I discovered this very hip version of blue and white porcelain shaped as coke bottles by Taikkun Li that can be found at Pagoda Red.
I found these ginger jars at the Washington Design Center.





National catalogs offer the blue and white porcelain too.


William Sonoma Home
According to Wisteria, newlyweds in China were given two porcelain pots, bearing the Chinese ideogram for happiness.

Wisteria

I bought mine at Wisteria to fill in the bottom of my dining room buffet.




Thanks for stopping by!  Please contact me if you would like help making your home beautiful!



10 comments:

JM said...

Great post and I really like the wisteria pieces you chose.

Kathy said...

I look forward to reading your blog every week. Your posts are informative, entertaining and inspiring. I enjoyed the blue and white porcelain history and the photos of how it can be used.

Heidiopia said...

What wonderful information and inspiring images! I love the blue and white-- only have a couple of pieces myself, but they add such a crisp touch.
Thanks so much for stopping by Show Some Decor earlier! My mother spent several years living in Severna Park as a child while my grandfather was overseas during WWII. She has lovely memories of her time there!

Stefanie said...

I love your post this week on blue and white. Love love love those two colors! They always make me think of summer and boating. Love the way the ginger jars, vases and other containers fill up the empty spaces in all the rooms. Looking forward to you next update! Keep on inspiring me.

Lisa Marcoon said...

I enjoyed this post. I gave a pair of Chinese porcelain vases to my friend Elizabeth as a wedding gift. I was told that they should always be displayed together...for good luck. Elizabeth has lived in many different houses since that time and the vases have never been apart. I like the idea of having things in a home with a story behind them! Thanks!!!

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

That first Michael Smith room is right up my alley! I love a little boho mixed with the porcelain vases. Unexpected, layered and gorgeous. Now I want one! :)

So glad I stumbled upon your blog!

Naomi

Patricia said...

The blog should be called Very Inspirational, because that's what it is. I really look forward to having the blog arrive in my inbox. I am renovating my kitchen and am finding that the blog provides much-needed encouragement to go through the redesigning process. Now I am thinking of incorporating some blue and white porcelain into the kitchen scheme. Thanks!

eddieross said...

I love blue and white too!
Great pictures.
Be sure to stop by my blog to see the latest post on my Orlando trip!
Have a great weekend.
Xo,
E&J

LeatherSofaBlogger said...

The Coke bottle versions are great, a very modern twist on something with lots of heritage, I like.

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Melissa- So pretty! Loved your bit of history behind it!

I am a fan of the old red and white transferware (my grandma's see http://applesandrubies.blogspot.com/2010/10/table-for-two-w-my-fave-elephants.html) Someday I will research old red and white transferware and post on it!

Now, I am coveting a blue and white ginger jar after reading your post! Loved all the images you gathered! Inspirational!

Loretta