Orla Kiely
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Breaking the Rules + Stems

I have been thinking a bit more about layering tableware patterns and how to add visual playfulness and diversity on the table.  Last week, I was in Toronto where one conversation in particular stood out on this topic.

In Toronto I had the opportunity to organize three photo shoots for Issue 04 (due out in July).  One of the shoots was with a friend who has been collecting antiques for over a decade.  Her collection spans different time periods and crisscrosses numerous patterns and colours.

Standing in her dining room and taking it all in is truly mind boggling.

While setting up a tea party arrangement on this particular shoot, I noticed a puzzled look on her face.   At the time, I had a slew of dishes, cups and vases strewn about the table and wondered whether I had broken some unwritten table setting rule, or even worse, a dish.

Me: “Is this your idea of tableware pattern hell? Did I use too many patterns?”

Friend: “Yes.  I don’t think I would set the table like this. However, now that I see it, I certainly have some new ideas.”

Apparently, barriers were pushed and rules were disregarded (if there are any rules to start with).  But you know what?  We had fun bantering, considering, questioning and deliberating what goes with what and I will let you be the judge in July when we publish.

In her mind, there was too many patterns and layers on the table but is there really a rule when it comes to setting the table? Look at what people wear in fashion!  It is considered fashionable and to have good taste to dress across lines, styles and textures, why can’t the same be true for tableware?  Perhaps people are afraid that a guest will come over and critique your use of chintz with jadeite.  Or rather, an eclectic table might be just the conversation starter and expression of creativity that takes your table-time up another level.

Continuing on from last week’s post on the Swedish/Tunisian House of Rym line that recently expanded their mix and match tableware line, another brand came to mind:  Orla Kiely.

Orla Kiely’s brand seems to be everywhere these days (a good thing, if you are hunting for a few floral pieces for your table this spring/summer). You can find her iconic retro stems among numerous collaborations (Japanese clothing brand, Uniqlo (I saw her line in December in Uniqlo Paris), Target, and Apple) along with her own stores and online shop.

I am more interested in her home ware line than the fashion side of her business.  What I like about the collection is that it centers around three basic vintage-retro patterns that all work well together: Giant Stem, Linear Stem and Giant Abacus.

Orla Kiely

From these three bold graphic patterns, the Orla Kiely brand creates multiple combinations and permutations of patterns which are applied to the growing array of tableware pieces.

The flexibility is limitless.  You can mix and match pieces between colours families, patterns as well as with your own set of dishes to add a pop of something bright on the table.

Orla Kiely1 Orla Kiely2
Photo Sources: 01 Linear Stem Sugar Bowl, 02 Linear Stem Canister Tins Set of 3, 03 Stem Flower Mug, 04 Abacus Flower Milk Jug, 05 Linear Stem Storage Jar-small, 06 Linear Stem Caddy Tin

Check Out: Countlan Magazine’s Orla Kiely Pinterest Board for more ideas, patterns and pieces.

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