Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tabletop Decor: Lettuce Ware

Make no mistake, dishware shaped to resemble lettuce leaves (complete with veining and tender curls) are not a trend. In fact these coveted pieces first gained popularity among the elite in 1960's-era Palm Beach, where local potter Dodie Thayer was handcrafting them. Considering that each piece took two weeks to make, she had the likes of Brooke Astor, Jackie Kennedy, C.Z. Guest, and Bunny Mellon lining up and waiting weeks to buy her goods.

It's likely that what you are seeing some of your favorite taste-maker's display and collect could be the original vintage Dodie Thayer lettuce ware. It's rare to find, and it'll cost a pretty penny - for example, Astor's 218 piece collection sold through Sotheby's for $74,500. But luckily for you and I, there are many lettuce ware options today - including Tory Burch's relaunch with Dodie Thayer where prices start around $88 for four canape plates.

The collection of Michael Lorber

Dodie showcasing her work, top right show her handwritten signature on each piece.

Dodie Thayer and Tory Burch relaunching the coveted collection

At Tory's own home

If an all-green table is too much for your liking, have no fear as vintage and new lettuce ware pieces can be found in an all-white palette as well. The veining and edging still keep the organic appeal:

Just this past Spring, Tory's collection also expanded to all-white. You get a fresh and simple look, with the playful flair of the original green still in tact:

New white lettuce ware by Dodie Thayer for Tory Burch

Or you can expertly mix the green and white patterns for a beautifully collected look, as displayed behind these lovely cobalt cabinet doors:

This purple cabbage tureen below (likely vintage), is a total statement piece in the center of the table, just look at those ruffled edges!

You can find lovely (and affordable) pieces like these below from Bordallo through The Mine:

And I love this last image, because it shows that even 1-2 small special pieces speak volumes. These lettuce ware dishes create a perfect entry table vignette, and you wouldn't have to purchase 10+ pieces to get the look. It's a fresh and modern take and a great alternative if you don't want to commit to an entire collection:

If you have to have a piece or two ... or more, there are many other sources you can scour: One Kings Lane, Etsy and eBay will have some vintage finds, and Bordallo through The Mine as well as Wayfair both have new pieces at very affordable prices.


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