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Spode Woodland is a gorgeous multi-motif pattern that includes magnificently depicted illustrations of various woodland animals in pastoral scenes. A vivid, warm palette of autumn colors is used to create lifelike images of birds, deer, rabbits, bison, hunting dogs, and more (the featured Woodland dinner plate showcases mallard ducks in a marshy landscape). Perfectly balanced with layers of scrolls and geometric latticework, the floral border of each Woodland piece is a unique trim design that was borrowed from an earlier Spode pattern, originally produced in 1828! Spode founder Josiah Spode opened the doors of his porcelain factory in 1780. Under his guidance, the factory introduced two important breakthroughs in the development of English ceramics. Using bone ash, Spode was the first English china maker to achieve higher firing temperatures, resulting in beautifully detailed, longer-lasting china. The company’s second important achievement was perfecting "underglaze" decorating. Intricate designs could be applied to china that would last for years without chipping, scratching, or fading, at prices affordable to England’s burgeoning middle class.

The understated elegance of Mikasa Crystal Stephanie is a wonderful complement to the charming Woodland china and flatware patterns featured this week. This beautiful blown glass design features an optic bowl that curves in at the top, resting atop a wafer stem and a round foot. In the early 1930s, Mikasa was established as an international trading company based in Secaucus, New Jersey. The company, while wholly American, looked to Japan for inspiration. Named in honor of Prince Mikasa, the youngest brother of Emperor Hirohito, Mikasa soon established itself as one of the most recognized Japanese brand names in the West. Importing merchandise produced by a network of over 150 manufacturers worldwide, the company itself never attempted to make any of the dinnerware it sold. Rather, the Mikasa branded items were imported from Japan, Ireland, England, France, and Germany. Business exploded in the 1950s, and tableware became the staple business for Mikasa. Customer requests were pouring in from all parts of the country, and department stores including Bloomingdale's and Macy's could not keep enough stock to meet demand. Consumers found Mikasa ceramics to be very strong, versatile, and stylish. By the beginning of the 1960s, Mikasa had established a reputation as "the pioneer of American casual." Today, Mikasa continues to leverage the momentum it has built over the decades since its inception.

Wallace Silver’s Woodland is a high-quality stainless steel pattern with a symmetrical, beveled design. Each piece is scalloped and tip-heavy with a scroll edge and glossy finish. This multi-motif pattern works especially well with the pattern’s namesake, Woodland by Spode, featured above. Wallace Silver, established in Connecticut nearly two centuries ago, has long been recognized for excellence in tableware craftsmanship. The founder of the company, Robert Wallace, was born in 1815 into a family of silversmiths who had immigrated to New England from Scotland. Apprenticed to William Mix, a renowned Connecticut spoon maker, Wallace, after mastering his trade, purchased a dilapidated grist mill and began to produce his own silver flatware in 1833. Woodland is just one of many examples of Wallace Silver’s high-quality work.

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