Favorite Things: White Apilco French Porcelain
Jan 22, 2013
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When you run around with children of a certain age, favorite colors are a frequent topic of conversation. The girls are in the purple, pink, and rainbow camp (rainbow is its own a color, in case you didn’t know, just like Superman ice cream has a flavor all its own); the boys red, blue, and green. No surprise there. The favorite colors at that age seem to be soul-defining for them.
When they ask me about my favorite color, I’m compelled to tell a little white lie. That’s because one of my very favorite colors would never stand up to their scrutiny, and I hate to deprive them of assessing my character by my choice of a ‘real’ color and not just my old faithful, white. I do love white. So you see, the little white lie. For them instead I favor rainbow, or glitter green.
Nowhere does my white seem more at home than up north. There is the snow, and that reinforces my affinity, but cottage whites abound here, in everything from bead board to mirror frames to porch railings.
On Main Street my mom put in white Formica counter tops eons ago, and I have an affection for them despite the way their reputation has been destroyed by so much granite, and despite the fact that they don’t stand in as a cutting board or trivet when you’d like them to. Dan has given me more than his fair share of ribbing about all of the white, thinking now that I’m just telling white lies to him too if I say that, yes I do like this or that, which I know could be white but isn’t. You’re just dying to whitewash it, he says. He could only point and nod when he noticed that even my duct tape for odd jobs is…white. I like to remind him that Benjamin Moore paint knows there are at least 150 shades of white. White is complex! I am complex! Don’t fence me in!
White is just one of the many reasons why I love French Apilco china. I admired it for many years before I owned any, and now that I have a few pieces (gratin dishes, hemstitch coffee mugs, an adorable little salt-pepper set with a mustard pot and its tiny spoon, which was broken in one of my moves; Peg has the lion’s head soup bowls and those are beautiful), they are favorites in my cupboard and on the table. The porcelain is fine, and I take secret pleasure in handling them and feeling the matte finish on the bottom against the cool sleek shine of the glaze everywhere else. Apilco pays great attention to detail, with gentle flourishes here and there but always restrained, with just enough movement to keep the pieces from feeling too sterile and just enough delicacy to keep them from feeling too Pottery Barn (which often does have nice things, but the dishes can be too heavy for my hand and taste).
Apilco is easy to find, like here and here, and the patterns are designed with what I consider a lovely balance of embellishment and moderation. They haven’t come out with a glitter green yet, so I just settle for their white on white on white, a rainbow all its own.