Most of our avid collectors undoubtably have Kitchen Cupboards or display cabinets full of their lovely collectables. From Emma Bridgewater to Burleigh to Nicholas Mosse and sometimes a mix of all three are our customer favorites that they have purchased at Ann Marie’s. But the look is possible with any of your highly praised pottery or collectables. Here are a few tips from our friends at Burleigh Pottery on how they instruct their customers on a achieving the “Dresser Look” .
Step 1: Take a good mix of colours. It doesn’t matter if this is just a few, if you want to get the mixed look then go for at least three patterns. We find all blues, or all pinks etc is best. But there are some exceptions. Some of our customers love to buy the same pattern in lots of different colours, like Asiatic Pheasants which has been produced in several over the years. This can achieve a really modern look to a dresser. Also a mix and match look means any discontinuations can be accounted for in your collection. If we take out a pattern you can add some complimentary shades or patterns.
Step 2: Choosing the patterns. If you wanted to create a mix of blues, then it is good to balance the shades. Too much dark can result in a heavy look, and too many pale patterns can lose impact. So if you were taking three, try Calico for depth, Arden for a medium tone, and Felicity for a paler colour. But you could swap these patterns with similar examples as you prefer. Although Calico and Arden are similar in colour depth, they are almost like reverse versions of each other so work really well together. It is worth thinking about the colour of your dresser, a dark Oak dresser will look better with paler colours, and a pale painted or pine dresser will look better with some darker shades.
Step 3: Plates. Measure the shelves or any shelf, plate rack you intend to display your pottery on. Although we will happily exchange your plates if you have misjudged dimensions, there is nothing worse than getting your plates delivered and finding they don’t fit. We produce a range of sizes from 11″ down to 7″ in our standard ranges. Remeber Asiatic Pheasants is always on a smooth rimmed plate shape, whilst most other patterns have a scalloped edge (not just to be arkward, but because certain patterns sit better on certain shapes, and fit better when decorating too). So having all dinner plates in one pattern, and all side plates in another pattern, can look quite good.
Step 4: Positioning on the shelves. Plates first of course, then the holloware as we call it, Jugs and teapots for example. This is the most important bit. Try not to put the same patterned items next to each other. Now this is easy for us to say when we have a whole factory of ware to choose from. But with careful planning it can be done. If you buy a 1pint tankard in Felicity, maybe a 1/2pint tankard in Calico would be good.
Step 4: Shape. As with pattern, mixing things up goes for shapes too. You can either fill a shelf with the same size and same shape objects to give a uniform look, or to keep the mix and match look going make sure no two same size and shape items sit together where possible.
Step 5: Stacking. Somtimes adding in a stack of mixed sugar bowls or even a pyramid of mugs can work. Generally allways try to use an odd number of items for this. So 3 bowls for example.
Step 6: Accent the dresser. Be it some silver ware, glassware, or family pictures. Make sure your dresser is about you. We tend to keep our shop displays fairly neutral. But at home a dresser has to have a personal element. Adding bits of antique Burleigh, or bits of (dare we say it!) other makes of pottery, can make your dresser or shelves look quirky and unique.
Step 7: Flowers. We love to have a focal point to most dresser displays. This is usually on the main surface of the dresser as you can create height. Maybe a Etruscan jug in a fruit bowl could be just the ticket. We always try to use seasonal flowers. When the Burleigh garden is back up and running (currently part of the building site, but rest assured our well loved quince tree and crab apple tree will be restored soon) we will be taking fresh cutting of herbs, blooms, and greenery, whenever they are available. We then tend to buy just a few fresh flowers to add in. Certain flowers just don’t fit in with the look. Remember look for native, seasonal flowers, in soft colours, wherever you are in the world and they are sure to look perfect.
Step 8: Don’t forget the top shelf. If you have enough ceiling height you can display some real statment pieces on the very top of a dresser. This will complete the look of the entire collection.
Step 9: Play around. Burleigh’s shop girls are constantly adding bits of pottery into the dressers. It may not look just how you waned to start with. Adding pieces of natural whiteware when you want to break up the colours. Or just a couple of pieces of Calico to stop everthing from looking the same. Don’t get hung up on rules it is just a guide.
Thank you Burleigh for sharing your Dresser Look tips. I love the sensibility of this look and “not following rules”.