Story: Paulette Pearson |
When Homer Laughlin China Co. introduced Fiesta ware in 1936 it became an instant success. Not only did the dinnerware possess bold hues at a time when home design was experiencing big jolts in color, its simple design and streamlined shape made it a compatible option for adding to existing china collections. It also allowed for mixing and matching pieces rather than purchasing entire sets, and most importantly, it was durable. Combine all of this with affordable prices, and Depression-era women and their families simply couldn’t get enough.
Decades later, Fiesta ware still has a strong following, and for many of the same reasons. Just as its durability ensured that it could be handed down safely through generations, its simple lines and bright colors kept it from looking outdated. Furthermore, in addition to the five original hues (red, blue, green, yellow and old ivory), Fiesta ware can now be found in rose, gray, turquoise and chartreuse, creating infinite possibilities for mixing and matching tabletops. And, whether you’re looking to add to an old collection or start a new one, it is widely available everywhere from flea markets and antique stores to department stores and the Internet.
Angela Broomfield of Fayetteville, whose Fiesta ware was handed down from her grandmother, prefers to look for additions to her growing collection at area flea markets. While she admits that the Internet is better for finding more than a few of the same style at one time, she likes keeping the shapes and colors of her Fiesta ware mixed up a bit. “I like all the different sizes and shapes,” she says, “as well as the durability.” She notes that their durability extends to being oven safe as well, which she learned out of necessity. “Once I made little molten lava cakes in the tea cups after I realized I didn’t have enough soufflé cups,” she laughs, “I never worry about treating them delicately, because it isn’t necessary.”
For Candace Dixon and her mother, Ann, also residents of Fayetteville, collecting Fiesta ware has as much to do with memories as it does décor. Some of Candace’s first recollections are of hunting down new Fiesta pieces with her mom at Saturday yard sales and local flea markets. “We’re not online shoppers,” she says, “because we have so much fun searching for that hint of colorful Fiesta peeking out and waiting to be found.” As a result, they like to display Fiesta prominently so they can recall time spent together, as well as to add a cheery dose of color to their homes. They display it behind glass, and even installed cup hooks under their kitchen cabinets to hang the teacups within easy reach. “The whole joy of Fiesta is to see it,” Candace says, “It should never be behind closed doors.”