Blue Willow

    Blue Willow is one of the most popular china patterns of all time. This pattern (or variations of it) date back to the late 1700's. There is some speculation as to the exact origin of this design, but Spode is generally credited with being the creator of the pattern collected by so many people over the years. Just about every china manufacturer has had a go at the Willow pattern, so the designs vary as greatly as the prices. There are at least 9 different border designs, and more than 10 center patterns. You can find Blue Willow for sale for a few dollars or a few thousand dollars. You can also find the pattern on more than just cups and plates. Through the years, Blue Willow has adorned nearly every item imaginable. From vases to children's toys to whale shaped ashtrays, Blue Willow can be found everywhere. It can also be found in other colors- Pink, Green, Black and Brown to name a few!

The Legend 

     Once upon a time there lived a very wealthy mandarin who had a beautiful daughter named Hong Shee. There was also a boy named Chang who loved Hong Shee. To keep them apart, the mandarin imprisoned his daughter in the palace.

     One day she escaped and the two lovers raced over the bridge to a waiting boat, her father in hot pursuit. They managed to elude the mandarin, reach the boat and sail away.

     A storm developed, the boat floundered, and the couple were lost at sea. It is said two love birds appeared immediately thereafter -- the spirits of Hong Shee and Chang.


One Collector's Tale

     I have always been curious about the reasons people collect the things they do. So, I asked Dianne why she collects Blue Willow.  She replied with a grin, "Because it's blue and white! And, it has birds on it!" I questioned how she chose Blue Willow  when so many other things are blue and white with birds.  This is her tale...

     My collection actually started about 20 years ago when I received my Grandmother's set of Blue Willow.  I remembered enjoying holiday dinners on her neat blue and white plates. When we sorted through her estate, I was delighted to find that no one else wanted her Blue Willow. You see, every one else considered it cheap china, or junk because you could get it from Woolworth's 5 & 10 for only a few cents a piece. I happily rescued Mom-Mom's "good dishes" from becoming trash. 

     Little did my husband know what a monster that would create! I started off collecting all kinds of Blue Willow, and it quickly took over my kitchen (much to his dismay). It became apparent that I had to narrow down the scope of my collection . I chose to concentrate my efforts on children's Blue Willow, and now have more than 400 pieces. Bless his compromising heart!

     I still have Blue Willow for my "everyday dishes". They are made by Johnson Bros and you can still buy them new today. It's funny, they cost a lot more than the ones from Woolworth's did. But, Mom-Mom's "good dishes" are now my "good dishes" and every holiday I proudly use them instead!