I have always liked collecting old things. When I was a kid in the 1980s, it was vintage barbie dolls and pig ornaments (!), when I was a teenager and student it was vintage clothing and these days (as I’m sure you already know) it’s vintage china and homewares. You might ask why I’ve always been so obsessed with things from times gone by. Don’t get me wrong, I do like contemporary items too and my home contains a mixture of old and new items that I think work really well together. But there is something that draws me to vintage items, so in the spirit of list-making, I’ve jotted down some of my reasons for collecting vintage china.
- By collecting a vintage china tea set, I feel like I am celebrating British craftsperson-ship. At the height of the manufacturing boom in Staffordshire there were many many potteries, now there are only a handful left. The pottery process involved so many people who were masters of their trade and within each piece of vintage china, I like to think that a small piece of British manufacturing history remains!
- Fine china can be easily broken. For some styles and patterns where there were not many manufactured, finding a piece in good condition might mean that you are one of the lucky few who own one!
- Upcycling has probably become a slightly overused term these days but I think the meaning behind the term is still really important. Finding an old tea set and cleaning it up is really enjoyable but equally as enjoyable is finding a single vintage plate and knowing that I have another plate that will complement it perfectly as a cake stand. The plate is given another purpose and enjoyed as part of a cake stand for many years to come.
- The fragile nature of the china encourages me to take time to use it carefully. I find that it’s so easy to rush around doing things on ‘auto-pilot’. So I try to make time to select some tea china, make a pot of tea and then lose myself in wondering about the journey the china went on before I found it.
- There are so many beautiful and varied patterns. I have been collecting for a number of years now and I’m still constantly finding pieces I’ve never seen before. What’s more they’re not all chintzy flower patterns, there’s something for all my moods, 1950s pastel stripes, Art Deco patterns, crinoline ladies in country gardens, the list is almost endless!
Why do you like collecting vintage?