The Creamer of Many Calamities - Vintage Orange Lustreware Porcelain Creamer Made in Japan circa 1920-1940s
I figure if a girl wants to be a legend, she should go ahead and be one. Calamity Jane
If there ever was a creamer that was destined for a human name, it would be this one and we would call her Jane. There are lots of famous Janes throughout history - Jane Austen (the writer), Jane Goodall (the anthropologist), Jane Fonda (the actor), Jane Addams (the activist) just to name a few. But this creamer isn't named after any of those ladies. She's named after Martha Jane Cannery (1852-1903), who was best known in the annals of history as Calamity Jane.
Made in Japan between 1921-1941, this creamer like her namesake has lived an adventurous life. Originally part of a matching porcelain tea set all containing the same handpainted orange and blue floral motif and bright peachy lustreware glaze, this creamer experienced her first adventure in the manufacturing process when bits of clay got stuck on the exterior near the base and some tiny air bubbles got caught in the glaze. Perfectionists would call this a calamity, but here in the Vintage Kitchen, we call these maker's marks character. Luckily for the creamer, these original imperfections passed muster enough not to be thrown back into the scrap pile. We think it's because the colorfully painted flowers really helped attract the eye towards this creamer's beauty and not her flaws. So packed up she was with the other members of her set and off she went out into the world bound for a tea lover's kitchen and a lifetime of joy.
Where did the set land? In whose kitchen did this family of handpainted porcelain pieces live? We don't really know. At some point though, she did separate from her set and embarked on a second journey, this time with just one sibling (the sugar bowl) instead of the whole teapot family. Together, the sugar bowl and creamer made a handsome pair. Similar but different in size and shape they were kindred spirits, ready to enhance tea time with a beautiful bit of Japanese artistry.
The sugar bowl, sweet in character as most are, traveled the decades of time just fine - managing to hang onto lid and handles without any troubles at all. The creamer, however, had a bit more of a spirited journey. The first sign of such precarious escapades is a chip in the paint from one of the green leaves near the blue flower. The second event took a tiny chip of paint from a petal on the orange flower, and the third another chip from the blue petal. Creamer rallied during all these tussles. She was tough, made of porcelain after all, and could withstand a lot. And so they continued to journey. Sugar all intact, creamer slightly scarred.
Until the day, a few months back.
Sugar fell from the fingers of a shop owner who was packing up the pair for the Vintage Kitchen. Unlike the creamer's imperfections, the sugar bowl's tumble took a significant chunk out of a corner of the rim. That meant the closing of a chapter on his life as a sweet server. He would never be a functional sugar bowl again but he also was destined for the scrap pile either. Instead, he's been permanently retired and repurposed, as a home for baby succulents bent on growing strong and big on the shelves of the Vintage Kitchen.
The creamer, on the other hand, our very own calamity Jane, has lots of original purpose still left in her though. It's true that she is not perfect and she'll never pretend to be, but she is ready to delight your days for another 80+ years. One splash of cream at a time.
Appealing to the type of person who is perfectly at home with imperfection, this creamer holds lots of lessons in her round little belly. But our favorite way to think of her is as a symbol of courage. She's made it 80 years, journeyed at least halfway around the world, experienced some upsets, made new friends, lost old ones, and valiantly carried on regardless of what life threw at her. All the while making an impression in her own unique way. That's the stuff legends are made of. That's what Calamity Jane would tell you anyway.
- Orange lusterware rim
- Colors included white, peach, orange, black, cobalt blue, spring green, lime green, and chestnut brown
- Marked on the bottom with the Made in Japan mark signaling manufacture date between 1921-1941
Some chipping in three spots to the painted floral design, which interestingly, are very hard to see due to the painting pattern of the flowers themselves. Minor flaws that occurred during manufacturing include air bubbles in two spots and two small clumps of clay located underneath the floral design. None of these flaws affect the original intent of the creamer. Otherwise no cracks or chips. Very clean and bright both inside and out. Lusterware is in lovely condition with no rub mars or signs of age.
Measures 3.5" inches (height) x 4.75" inches (length spout to handle) x 3" inches (width)
Find more favorite adventurers in these stories here, here and here.