About in 1990, under a freeway bridge in south Florida, this amazing example of everyday china bowed and insinuated itself into my life. Bought a big box of it, gave back the coffee cups for the vendor to sell again, and stood by the box, under I-95, waiting for my family to come back from their shopping. Did not want to leave it alone, this stuff that was so fine to me. I had paid twenty dollars, a LOT.
The black cups were chipped and awful, to me they seemed much inferior in design that the rest of the service. That’s why I gave them back to the vendor. She said thanks.
Had never seen this pattern before. It was sooo 1950s, and at that time it was just rising into my consciousness that I was recreating a childhood of some sort. The pattern of the china was generated on a grid, the same mainstay as my textile work. It was a natural attraction. Each plate was different, but the same, and that idea is one of my cardinal rules for creating art. Found out that it was called Knowles Ebonette.
The plates were not round, but had rounded corners (although aesthetics are the most important characteristic for me, I must say that it is not easy to make a knife stay on the corners of this plate).
And each design on each plate seems to be unique. That is what really fascinated me.
We use them, and break them unfortunately, and Ebay sends me messages when Ebonette is listed. It is amazing to see the range in prices, but when a good lot is offered at a great price, we buy.
Above is a bit of broken Ebonette in a mosaic.
So last week a message from Ebay came. Two plates were offered for five bucks each. Great deal! The vendor said that it was unusual that the plates did not have the familiar Ebonette mark on the back. To someone who knows this pattern however, the design on the plates was unmistakable. I bought.
When the plates came, I figured out about the mark.
The plates were round! They must have been experiments and therefore do not bear the Knowles mark. So happy to have them.