It all started with a French on French Iron Chef Japan [the original] battle against Chef Sakai. The challenge was 2 fold; the secret ingredient was guinea fowl and all dishes were to be plated on, Britain’s finest + the Queen’s favourite, Wedgwood China.
In traditional Iron Chef procession, Chairman Kaga banged the gong + the chefs raced to load up on guinea fowl + the panel of judges was introduced. The camera then panned to the Wedgwood display in the centre of Kitchen Stadium. And there I saw it amongst the other beautiful pieces, at the tender age of maybe 12, a matte finished collection of pastel coloured plate-ware with the most spectacular cameo-like raised white details; Jasperware Wedgwood. In awe, and before the guinea fowl even made it to the the judging table, I knew that one day I’d have my very own set of Jasperware. Since this Iron Chef epiphany, I’ve yet to forget that moment. Though I may not have been too vocal about it in my adult life, that China has forever lived in the back of my mind.
F A S T F O R W A R D + slight R E W I N D
My pre teen aspirations came [somewhat] true while on our trip to London. When travelling, characteristically, my souvenirs materialize in the form of shoes. On this past trip, the only person who left the UK with a new pair of shoes was Mike.
While seeking solace after a failed afternoon shopping attempt, Mike and I turned into a little courtyard near Oxford Circle hosting what appeared to be a church bazaar. In a stall toward the back was a woman with a table filled with the most amazing antique pieces including a selection of Jasperware. I squealed at the sight and began frantically telling Mike about my 12 year old Iron Chef Wedgwood moment. I agonized over which of her pieces would be coming back with me to Toronto. As I couldn’t decide, I had to walk away and sleep on it only to find that when I returned the next day, the piece I had my eye on was sold. Eventually I decided on 2 delicate budding vases.
The next day, while exploring Shoreditch, I came across another Wedgwood piece that I had to have; a little heart shaped trinket box. With it, I also picked up a beautifully detailed antique gold Victorian mirror. Shoe-venirs: 0 – Antiques: 4!
Fearful that they may crack, as soon as we got back to Melody + Billy’s Glasgow flat, I immediately perched each piece on a shelf in our room for display. Our room was filled with so much natural light during the day that I couldn’t help but snap some pics of both my antique finds and the cats who kept them company. I enjoyed waking up to my new treasures each morning and I’m certain that so too did Augustus + Octavia [M + B’s cats].
Though we’ve been back now for over a month, this weekend, I finally got to cleaning off both vases and setting them up in our living room.
In case you too had childhood dreams of Wedgwood, here are a few tips I came across while antique-ing:
.less pieces of the black Jasperware were produced and therefore, are not as easy to come by compared to colours like blue or green | so when you see a piece think twice before you pass it up!
.when cleaning Jasperware use a soft cloth with warm water and gentle liquid soap | dry each piece immediately after rinsing
.be sure to always check each piece for the Wedgwood stamp to ensure that it is authentic | WEDGWOOD no “E”
This marks my foray into the world of Jasperware; the first of [hopefully] many pieces to come.