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Colorful Fruit Motifs, American Artistry

 

The Fresh Fruit pattern by Franciscan features various fruit designs rendered with  “California casual” style and color. This hand-painted earthenware pattern was produced from 1980 to 1983. The Fresh Fruit pattern includes 25 different piece types, most of which were produced using existing shapes from earlier Franciscan patterns. When California-based Franciscan tableware premiered in 1934, it was practically an overnight success. The glamour of the emerging film industry and the state's climate seemed exotic to Midwesterners and those living on the East Coast. The "Golden State" became a very popular tourist destination. And Franciscan's bright-colored, less expensive "earthenware" grew in popularity as American consumers began to recover from the Great Depression. The company's now-legendary line of hand-painted, raised-pattern designs includes Desert Rose, Apple, and Ivy. At the pinnacle of its fame, Franciscan pieces were purchased by some of America’s most famous families. Noteworthy are the 1961 order by Jacqueline Kennedy for Desert Rose to be used on Air Force One, and the 1969 selection of Franciscan china by President Richard Nixon for service aboard the Presidential yacht. Other orders for special services for royalty from around the world were also filled.

Featuring a raised fruit-motif design that incorporates brilliant bursts of color, Della Robbia-Flashed by Westmoreland Crystal is a pattern of distinctive style. This water goblet has great presence on the table, and is a fantastic complement to the bold floral design found in the Fresh Fruit china pattern. The Westmoreland Glass Company was founded in 1889 in Grapeville, PA, near Pittsburgh. Della Robbia-Flashed was one of the many patterns the Westmoreland Glass Company produced over nearly a century of glass making. In 1969, a group of collectors gathered to found the National Westmoreland Glass Collectors Club. Through its newsletter and regular meetings, the group works to expand knowledge about the Westmoreland Glass Company and its glassware, and to preserve this important heritage.

The understated elegance of Mikasa Silver Trapunto D’Oro is a wonderful complement to the more elaborate Fresh Fruit china and Della Robbia-Flashed crystal patterns featured this week. This elegant stainless steel pattern features a glossy finish and tasteful gold accents, including a golden ridge that runs along the center of the handle. In the early 1930s, Mikasa was established as an international trading company based in Secaucus, New Jersey. The company, while wholly American, looked to Japan for inspiration. Named in honor of Prince Mikasa, the youngest brother of Emperor Hirohito, Mikasa soon established itself as one of the most recognized Japanese brand names in the West. Importing merchandise produced by a network of over 150 manufacturers worldwide, the company itself never attempted to make any of the dinnerware it sold. Rather, the Mikasa branded items were imported from Japan, Ireland, England, France, and Germany. Business exploded in the 1950s, and tableware became the staple business for Mikasa. Customer requests were pouring in from all parts of the country, and department stores including Bloomingdale's and Macy's could not keep enough stock to meet demand. Consumers found Mikasa ceramics to be very strong, versatile, and stylish. By the beginning of the 1960s, Mikasa had established a reputation as "the pioneer of American casual." Today, Mikasa continues to leverage the momentum it has built over the decades since its inception.

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