N. Hudson Moore, in his 1903 edition of: The Old China Book, wrote: "There is a certain style of design known as 'flow blue,' which has nondescript patterns, flowers, geometric designs, and which has nothing whatever of beauty or interest to recommend it..."
My dear friend Shelley collects flow blue pottery. Some say flow blue started off as a mistake, my friend doesn't think of it like that and collects it proudly.
During the early part of Queen Victoria's reign, flow blue was considered not worthy to set before the Queen and was shipped off to the Americas!
Flow blue occurred when potters transfer the patterns onto the white china. When the china is being glazed the cobalt blue color, being unstable, "flows" into the surrounding white glaze, creating a fluid effect.
My friend Shelley has ALS, a life threatening disease that flows out and cripples every part of her body. Shelley, who is the Queen of decorating, with her eagle eye and abundant energy, has endured this devastating illness with such grace that it humbles me.
Everyday, her husband takes her out of bed, bathes her, dresses her, feeds her...But let me tell you, she is not mellow yellow...Shelley is cobalt blue! (Flow blue bleeds and blurs a multitude of imperfections, often to the point that the original pattern is complelety obscured...) Dress divinely, make-up perfectly applied, smile wide enough to swim in...One can forget Shelley is devastingly ill. In her wheel-chair she dreams up projects, re-creates scenes, plans activities with her children, gives ideas, shares lively conversation, and makes you laugh. When with Shelley I enter her world of possible dreams and imaginable ideas, feeling anything is possible; That One can live outside the fixed lines of life and spread wildly beyond the boundaries as I know it.
Shelley, I have found the most beautiful piece of Flow Blue ever in you! You live boldly, you are living art while some of us stay safely within the lines, daring not to go over the edges and bleed.
photo: 1850s, Flow Blue, cafe au lait bowl from my Cupboard back in France. I posted this a few months ago, and I hope you don't mind that I have re-posted it. In a few days I hope to post Shelley's collection of Flow blue.