After pitching my Decades themed Pop-Up Tea Shoppe idea to Judy I had 8 weeks to source crockery from the 1930s through to the 1970s. Each of my 5 tables would have tableware exclusively from a particular era, along with parlour games and a waitress styled in the fashions from the decade. I also taught myself to bake and handmade all of the teatime treats. I like a challenge! After this incredible experience I developed a love for Midwinter pottery and in particular the two ranges which completely revolutionised tableware in the 1950s.
In 1951, the Festival of Britain had whetted the appetites of some sections of the public, showing a cleaner and brighter future with design and modernity applied to everything from buildings to kitchen utensils. Jessie Tait, the in-house designer at Midwinter said of her visit to the Festival that there was a sense of movement in the design world. Backed by Roy Midwinter, they developed a new look aimed at the younger market that wanted to make a statement with their home style. The Stylecraft and Fashion ranges were born.
The Fashion Shape, created in 1952 was influenced by a style called ‘organic modernism’, a style which expressed the influence of natural forms on modern industrial design. There was also a move towards a looser and less formal approach to meal serving – a mix and match approach with different coloured lids was now an option. Russell Wright’s American Modern, and Museum and Tomorrow’s Classic by Eva Zeisel, were the ranges of ceramics that inspired Roy Midwinter’s new Fashion Shape.
The Domino range is one of my favourites of the Stylecraft Shape with hand painted dots in relief. The Domino range was so popular many minor variations occur, possibly some were special orders or short runs. Notice in the photo above the bottom right hand tea cup is white with red spots.
The illustrated style Toadstools series is my favourite of all the Fashion Shape designs but I’ve never laid eyes on a single piece in real life. I only realised the motif existed after buying a book about Midwinter which makes no mention of it being hard to find. I will track down a piece one of these days…
This is a great snap of the showroom ladies in 1960. Terence Conran had designed the Midwinter showroom along with a number of patterns for the Fashion Shape.
My personal daily dose of Midwinter comes in the form of drinking my morning coffee from a Spanish Garden cup and saucer. Well, if it’s good enough for Lord Snowdon! Come evening time, we dine from Mambo dinner plates which I bought after my kittens ravaged my actual cheese plant.
Start your Midwinter collection today with a Fashion Shape teapot decorated with the Quite Contrary motif. So pretty! The lively transfer printed design of exploding stars in pink, black and turquoise is such a magical colour combination. Check it out in the shoppe, click here. I hope to carry many more Midwinter pieces in the Thrift-ola shoppe in the future, that’s if I can bear to part with my finds!