None of my dishes match. I like it that way.
I used to have a full set of matching stoneware. I figured that's what one does when one furnishes a kitchen properly. But maybe "proper" is overrated. Maybe there's another way...
Last year I looked for, and collected, vintage china teacups and saucers. My appreciation for china and its varied, beautiful patterns was certainly not satisfied, rather it grew to a full-on obsession.
Fine china seems to be plentiful in thrift stores. Likely it ends up there after years of use or lack there of, or perhaps after pieces break and the set becomes incomplete.
But whatever the reason I certainly keep an eye out for beautiful china during all my thrift shopping outings.
I consider only pieces that are sold individually. I'm not after a complete matching set. My desire is rather the opposite; I'm after a collection made up of mismatched pieces. This works well for me, as we use our fine china daily. Why pull it out for special occasions only? (I don't use complete settings, just whatever dish we need. Usually its just a couple of salad plates.) I don't worry about it breaking. I'm careful with it, and I know that if it does break I can find a replacement. With my mix-matched collection just about anything will fit right in. My only requirements: its got to be china, its got to be pretty, its got to be usable (made for food consumption and not for decoration), it can't be chipped, and its got to cost less than a couple of bucks!
A Noritake bread & butter plate in a bamboo pattern, a Grace "Rhapsody" salad plate,
a "Lynrose" cup and saucer pair, and a "Springtime" dinner plate create a stunning place setting.
Putting together pieces with a similar color palette is an option, but certainly never necessary.
This lovely place setting begins with a "Teahouse Rose" dinner plate, "Irene" salad plate,
and is topped with a beautiful Royal Albert "Moss Rose" footed cup and saucer.
These three patterns, from three different countries (Japan, China, and England), and likely from three different decades, coordinate beautifully.
It seems that even random pairings end up looking quite splendid together. And when several place settings are set on a table, the effect is even more lovely.
Like good friends, good food, good books, and fabulous junk finds - variety is the spice of life.
All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.