Beautiful and useful

by Heather

If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. –William Morris

Antiquing, for me, is a great way to relax, as well as find something beautiful and with any luck, also useful, for my home.

Sometimes I think that in an ideal life, I’d go every single weekend.

However … would an ideal life even have weekends? I’m not sure. Recently I read a Rick Owens interview where he said that he doesn’t observe weekends or holidays, and so goes shopping–often antiquing in Parisian galleries–whenever he likes. That sounds pretty good too (especially the Parisian galleries part).

As I read I felt a pang at the thought of no weekends or holidays, and certainly I’d never want to eliminate the really important red-letter days. But perhaps a life designed exactly as ones likes requires no Labor Days or Columbus Days. I can see how that might work. When I am called upon to live my life exactly as I would like, I will definitely consider at least a modified Rick Owens approach.

At any rate, when I went antiquing last weekend (my life still includes them), what I brought home was a vintage English Minton’s earthenware jelly mold with an Art Deco look about it. There aren’t too many of these molds in this part of the country, but even in pictures of whole collections, I’ve never seen one like this before.

Usually they’re plain ironstone, or clear glass. Mine is a pale yellow custard color with two bold red racing stripes at the base, and a thin black one at the rim. I find it quite pleasing to the eye, and it already seems very much at home with the other things in my kitchen, such as a pair of Deco red-dotted custard glass salt and pepper range shakers, and a green restaurantware creamer with similar thin black stripes.

Given the mold’s intricate design and my lack of expertise, I’ll probably never use it for its original purpose. I washed it by hand, and right now it’s holding my black and red bag of Bodum’s delicious piña colada tea, ready for breakfast and break time.

I stretched the budget I’d set for my antiquing foray a bit to buy what I really wanted, and as I look at my latest find in use, I feel pleased that I did. I’d love to know more about the person who originally chose this attractive mold instead of a more utilitarian one. Whoever she was, I know that she (or perhaps he) thought, like I do, that everything (and I do mean everything) should be both beautiful and useful.

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