From cups and spoons to plates and teapots, this collector’s table is memorably set
On a recent birthday, I received a bouquet of flowers from my son that epitomizes who I am. The flower container was illustrated with several rows of colourful cups piled on top of one another—a reflection of my penchant for collecting.
My collection of cups includes dainty, black teacups from Japan that once belonged to my motherin-law. I also have a set of six beautifully decorated, very fine bone china cups from my mother, who was fortunate enough to receive the set as a wedding gift in 1939.
Being (very!) British, several of my mugs display photographs of the royal family, celebrating different events. The oldest one is of the coronation of King George VI in 1937; another is of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, which I received while attending school.
A collection of cups wouldn’t be truly complete without accompanying plates, for pie and other goodies. One bread-and-butter plate, given to me by Auntie Becca, is of the Royal Albert Heather Bell pattern. A stoneware dinner plate with the Willow pattern was given to me by Auntie Nancy, who also gave me four china plates bearing the Alberta rose, after I mentioned to her its status as the provincial flower of Alberta.
Complementing the above are my many teapots, of which I personally purchased only two. One is a small clay teapot I bought after attending a Chinese tea ceremony in China. The other I bought while in Argentina; it’s actually used for making maté or yerba,which is traditionally drunk through a silver straw in a social, communal setting.
Of the many teapots given to me, one in particular brings back memories, as it was passed down from my sister Annie when I visited her two years ago in England. Annie asked if I remembered where it came from, and of course I did. It is a very small teapot, made in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. It evokes memories of Annie and I visiting Auntie Elin at Bontddu, North Wales.
Then, of course, there are my spoons, a collection that now numbers more than 100. It all began with a farewell gift from my colleagues in the intensive care unit of Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, where I worked as a nurse for 1 ½ years. Since then, I have received spoons from friends and family; two very special ones were given to me by my sons after they attended the Canadian Scout Jamboree in Guelph, Ont., in 1985.
Love spoons are also part of my collection. Historically, these were wooden spoons carved lovingly by a suitor and given to the girl he loved, hence the term “spooning.” Most of mine were given to me by company visiting from Wales; however, two were hand carved with precision by Adam Eckert of our hometown of Drayton Valley, at the request of my husband. One was a gift for my 65th birthday; the other was given to me for our 40th anniversary. As well as special emblems denoting the specific occasion, both of these custom-made love spoons have fish on them, representing our affiliation with the Anglican Church, as well as daffodils, the floral emblem of Wales, and the wild rose, representing Alberta.
As you might imagine, there is a lot more to my many collections, particularly from my travels—a story for another day, perhaps.