26 January 2011

Swim said the mama fishy...

Swim if you're able
And they swam and they swam all over my table.

This week I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday.

My tablescape was inspired by my friends Candy, Daphne, Elaine and Rebecca, who did Coast-to-Coast: Two Fish, Four Fish, New Fish, More Fish last week for Tablescape Thursday. They chose to use the same fish tablecloth in four different colourways and posted them on Tabletop Time: East Coast and The Little Round Table: West Coast. If you did not see their beautiful settings last week please check them out before continuing.

When I saw their tables I remembered that I had that same tablecloth in at least one colourway. Since Abbey had helped me organize all my tablecloths a few weeks ago, I had a pretty good idea of where to look for it. Sure enough, I have the same fishy tablecloth that Elaine used - the colourway with the gold fish, turquoise coral, and pink seaweed.

And I remembered thinking when we put it away that this cloth would look fabulous with marigold Fiesta.

Marigold is the colour celebrating Fiesta's 75th Anniversary. While a few special shapes in this glaze have been released the last few years, the remainder of the line will come out this year for the anniversary. I am anxious to be able to get place settings to use with this tablecloth, but in the meanwhile, I decided to see what I could do using some of the shapes that are already out. And of course, I would need some other colours to go with it in order to set the table.

Today's table is set with the gold fish tablecloth, post-86 Fiesta in marigold, rose and turquoise, vintage Metlox spiral candleholders in rose and turquoise, vintage Chicken of the Sea tuna bakers and shakers in the standard colours as well as some unusual colours, pale gold glassware that belonged to my great-grandmother (tea came in these from the grocery store in the early 1900s), bamboo flatware from Cambridge, post-86 Fiesta go-along turquoise napkins and yellow napkin rings that I got several years ago from Sur la Table. My breakfast room faces east so when the morning sun comes in I get lots of lovely natural light. Sometimes that makes tablesetting pieces be backlit, so I also made some photos of the table after dark with the room lights.

One of my great-grandmother's glasses:

The glass is so thin and delicate in these. They fit perfectly in your hand and I treasure them.

Besides Homer Laughlin dishes, I have also collected promotional pottery from a number of different potteries. The Chicken of the Sea tuna pieces and associated ephemera (1940-41) are some of my favourites. And I've been lucky enough to find pieces in some odd colours to go along with the standard ones that were sold in the promotion. Standard glazes were yellow, maroon (called dusky rose in ads), green and turquoise and all were glossy. I also have matte coral, glossy coral, cobalt, delph blue and matte turquoise in my collection.

Marigold large Fiesta platter holding bakers in turquoise blue, dusky rose, delph blue and sea green:

The other standard colour for the bakers was canary yellow.

Now this is an odd baker.

What makes it odd is that it's considerably smaller than all the other bakers, it's coral, it's trimmed in gold, and there is no mark on the bottom. It almost appears to be an amateur piece, but I have never seen any others in this size or decorated with the gold.

Officially the bakers are called Tuna Bakers and Salad Servers. The chrome stands are to protect your table from the hot dish. I have the recipe pamphlet that came with them, but I have never been brave enough to put them in the oven. I have used them to serve tuna salad though.

Check out Candy's blog for pics of some of the ephemera for the premium pieces. Lots of times people sell the Chicken of the Sea pottery as Bauer, but the glaze colours are not the same and there is no proof that Bauer ever made them. A lot of us have been researching and we believe that several different potteries made the fish. The bakers come in at least two different shapes with different markings and the lids are not interchangeable.

Many of the shakers have been found in original mailing boxes and all of those were postmarked Hollydale, CA. Hollydale Pottery was located there, so it is likely they were one of the producers. Also there are anecdotal stories from the families of Hollydale workers who say they made the fish. Here is a shot of two of the mailing boxes that shipped with pairs of the shakers.

In the boxes were notes saying that corks did not come with the shakers and to use tape to cover the openings in the bottom. I have always wondered why they did that.

Normal colours for the shakers are turquoise blue for salt (the one with two holes) and canary yellow for pepper (three holes). I've also found them in coral, cobalt and delph blue.

This is one of the most interesting pairs of shakers in my collection:

Notice how they are stuck together? When they were put in the kiln to fire, they were placed too close together and the glaze on the two pieces fused. This can happen when making pottery, but normally when the pieces are removed from the kiln they come apart and the glaze will be damaged where they touched This pair is forever joined together with a kiln kiss.

The Metlox candleholders:

Every time I use these I am amazed at how they were manufactured and how well they have survived. The spiral candleholders also came in the radioactive red glaze, ivory, coral, green and yellow.

There is another fish tablecloth that goes wonderfully vintage Harlequin in its original four colours. Several years ago I did a tablesetting using those, the Chicken of the Sea pieces, and a Trenton pottery vase that is also in my favourite blue glaze. As a little bit of lagniappe, here are a few shots from that table:

Happy Fishing!

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Annie said...

Good morning Becky. I found this post (and your friends' posts) really fascinating. Like many, I admire Fiestaware but like those many, don't collect it. But, that being said, one of my greatest treasures is an extra large, round, deep blue platter that my mother had. It's very special and I love using it from time to time.

The muted colors of the tablesetting is so peaceful; it's a quiet ocean awash in color.

Ces said...

Oh YOU with the most beautiful dishes and table setting! What a delight. I am giddy just from looking. Imagine if I actually handled them? The stuck shakers are so cool, like cojoined twin. Yin and Yang! What beautiful things!

Southerncook said...


I absoulutely LOVE this tablesetting. It is gorgeous and that tablecloth, oh my. Everything looks perfect and soooooooo adorable. Now I am off to check out those other bloggers sites that you suggested.


Craig Miyamoto said...

Holy mackerel! I sea you have something fishy on your table. Okay, you can flog me with some wet fishtails anytime you want. That was pretty bad.

Seriously, it's amazing what you've done with the table settings. I love the bakers, myself.

xoxox Craig

Daphne said...

Your fishy tables look wonderful, Becky! I especially love seeing the pieces in the hard-to-find colors. Your second tablescape is one that inspired me to find bakers for my tabletop! I hope you'll join us for a Coast-to-Coast Valentine's 'scape!

Pam - diy Design Fanatic said...

Beautiful and so colorful! Love all the comments, too!

Marlis said...

love your table! and all the history you gave us certainly made it all more realistic. Love the fish!!

Alycia Nichols said...

What great colors! Really wakes up the table!

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

What a fabulous fish tablescape! Love the vintage cloth, the colors and those wonderful fish bakers!

Sarah said...

Becky, I'm so glad you stopped by HFTS for a visit. Now I've found you. I've added myself as a new follower. I know I'll be around often. This is a darling table. I follow Candy and always enjoy her colorful Fiesta inspired tables. These tuna servers are the best. I'm going to keep my eyes open in hopes of finding some.
~ Sarah

Sharon Haynie said...

What a great table! I love seeing all of the different pieces of Fiesta that are out there. I'm looking forward to Marigold! Thanks for sharing!

The Tablescaper said...

Great table. You have some amazing things. I love the fish bakers.

- The Tablescaper

Monica said...

I am so happy to see another tablescape from you. I love your table too. I think is it wonderful that you have your great grandmother's glasses.

Mary said...

This is a very pretty table scape! I would like to invite you to link this up to my new link party, Masterpiece Monday, at Boogieboard Cottage. The link will be up all week. Take care, Mary :O)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Becky, what a FUN table! I saw some of the fish cloths last week, and I'm so glad you did this. I love what you did with your cloth and dishes! Those colors are so happy and fun, and I loved hearing all about the various pieces you've collected. Those fish bakers are just too cute! And your candlesticks are standout! Love them. Thanks so much for sharing your table with us. I loved every piece of it (and we share the same flatware... I'm crazy over this and have it in the brown, too, which looks like twigs for certain 'scapes). Thanks for sharing!


Sheila :-)

CAS said...

Your table is just delightful. I love Fiesta Ware, but only have the new pieces. Your little tuna bakers and shakers are beyond cute and blend so well with your Fiesta. I am a new follower because I continue to gather ideas from bloggers like yourself & The Little Round Table for mixing and matching colors, brands, vintage & new. You are all so great!

A Perfect Setting said...

Such a fun and inviting table! The colors are great together, love all the little fishies!!

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Becky...

Ohh my...what a beautiful and fun table! I just love all the different colors that you chose to do your tablescape in! The vintage tablecloth is so pretty and you coordinated your place settings so perfectly! I have to tell you that this is the first time that I have ever heard or seen the tuna bakers! They're awesome and make a fabulous addition to your tablescape! I loved reading all the history that you included about these as well! This pretty table just sings "fun" to me...love it! Thank you so much for sharing it with us today...this was a real treat!

I also wanted to thank you for coming by and taking a peek at my tablescape! I really enjoyed your visit and sweet note, my friend!

Warmest wishes,
Chari @Happy To Design

Entertaining Women said...

Although I've never collected Fiesta, I've always been impressed with the amazing tablescapes and carousels of color that can be created by a talented eye like yours. This is such a visually pleasing setting! You've don'e a marvelous job. Thank you for sharing your lovely design. Cherry Kay

~~Carol~~ said...

You did such a fabulous job making this a super fun tablescape! Tablecloth itself is a blast, but then you added the perfect dishes and utensils. I've never seen anything like those bakers, but they're just perfect here. I would LOVE to be invited to dine at your table!
Happy Pink Saturday!

Marydon said...

Becky, this table scape is just wonderful! I love those wee shakers, & yes, the corks were missing in many a shaker back then ... I remember all the adhesive tape bottoms. The fish theme is just wonderful & the colors you pulled together is so inviting.

Happy PS weekend ~

Anonymous said...

Love the pottery so I found the information so interesting. Thanks for sharing it.

Happy Pink Saturday!

Donnie said...

I love the whimsy of all of your photos. So cute.

Jillian said...

As a pottery collector (LuRay pastels dinnerware) I absolutely loved your tablescape and the info you provided. FUN FUN FUN. The fish theme is perfect. Love those C.o.t.Sea fish too.

Bella Rosa Antiques

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Happy Pink Saturday Becky Sweetie...
What a beautiful table setting. I love each and every one of the pieces. And the fact that they belong in the family makes them that more special. I really love that you even have the mailing boxes.

Love the fish theme. That tablecloth just sings to me. Thank you for the beautiful share sweetie.

Many hugs and much love, Sherry

Light and Voices said...

What a hoot! Your tablescape was colorful, whimsical, and made me smile. HPS!
Joyce M

She'sSewPretty said...

I love, love, love your tablescape!! I did my Pink Saturday post last week with my fiesta ware. I could have taken a few tips from you though!
Have a wonderful Pink Saturday!!

Catlyn Berry (Cizz) said...

What a fabulous, fun setting! I have got to try my hand at doing some table-scaping, you have made it look like such fun! Happy Pink Saturday!


Lynn said...

Such a colorful, fun, beachy tablescape which would be perfect here in Florida. I enjoy seeing Fiestaware but do not collect it. So many lovely things, so little room in our small cottage, lol. Fascinating ideas presented here.

Look in the Nook said...

I have the same pink and turquoise dishes. Thanks for sharing your table setting design. You gave me some great ideas.
Don't forget to "Look in the Nook"

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post thank you for sharing,HPS.

CailinMarie said...

oh my! What a fun table you have set - I love all the colors and the fish. My mother had some fiesta wear at one time, we kids loved it. That pink fish 'baker' is rather interesting. I wonder why it is so different from the rest? Happy Pink saturday!

Kelly said...

Love your fish! Made my day! Thanks for sharing!

Barbara Albin said...

I have been collecting Bauerware dishes, vases, bowls, etc. for almost 50 years - just fell in love with the colors, yes I have some Fiesta, Pacifc, Hall, Homer Laughlin too - the mix is wonderful. I have wanted the Tuna Casseroles forever and finally just bought a yellow, turquoise and burgandy. They make me so happy, I want more. I did get a single yellow fish shaker to add to the mix. Your table setting are absolutely perfect and I know they make you feel so good. My pride and joy is my 14 Bauer orange (red) dinner plates, perfect for Halloween and coveted by my entire family. LOL